As founder and former President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan said, “Foreign aid and assistance is one of the basic pillars of our foreign policy. For we believe that there is no true benefit for us from the wealth that we have unless it does not also reach those in need, wherever they may be, and regardless of their nationality or beliefs.”
Since its founding, the UAE has provided significant aid to developing countries and has been a major contributor of emergency relief to regions affected by conflict and natural disasters. The fundamental purpose of UAE aid is to reduce poverty and help those in need, and the UAE has been a crucial global donor throughout the years.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the UAE continues to rank among the largest providers of official development assistance (ODA) relative to national income worldwide. From the start of 2021 to mid-2022, the UAE has provided over $3.5 billion in foreign aid to countries around the globe.
Dr. Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, wrote: “The humanitarian work in the UAE is a fundamental pillar of the philanthropic approach adopted by the state since its establishment.”
Recent Aid Includes:
- Since the start of 2021, the biggest recipient of aid from the UAE was Yemen, having received over $435 million Since 2015, the UAE has donated more than $6 billion in humanitarian assistance to the people of Yemen.
- In April 2022, the UAE contributed to a $2 billion pledge for economic support to the Central Bank of Yemen. This fund aims to stabilize the Yemeni economy, improve access to basic services and ease the economic crisis.
- Since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, the UAE has sent planes carrying relief aid to Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Bulgaria and Moldova in line with the regional refugee response plan. In October 2022, the UAE announced that it would provide an additional $100 million in humanitarian aid to Ukrainian civilians affected by the crisis.
- As of August 2022, the UAE began operating an air bridge to transport humanitarian aid worth $13.6 million to Pakistan for those affected by torrential rains and floods. The relief aid included shelter materials, humanitarian needs, food, and medical supplies.
- In November 2022, the UAE dispatched a number of aid ships to Pakistan carrying 200 containers of food and medical supplies. This aid will support 500,000 Pakistani families affected by the flooding.
- In 2022, the UAE sent three planes carrying hospital supplies, beds and two operating rooms equipped with the latest medical supplies and devices to offer relief to earthquake victims in Afghanistan.
In addition to emergency and other humanitarian relief, the UAE provides development aid. In 2016, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched the UAE Foreign Assistance Policy—the nation’s long-term development cooperation plan towards eradicating poverty and promoting global peace and prosperity. The UAE remains committed to supporting the development of its partner countries.
Beyond government support, the UAE’s primary aid and relief agency is the Red Crescent Authority (RCA).
While much of the UAE’s development assistance is provided on a government-to-government basis, the country is also a major contributor to multilateral organizations. The UAE supports various UN development funds, including UNICEF, UNDP and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.