The Ungrateful World: The hate-response for the billions of Saudi-Aid

3 mins read

by Khaled Hamoud Alshareef

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest providers of aid to the Palestinian people

Saudi Arabia and the United States spend annually billions of dollars in helping underdeveloped nations, for all the good these two countries do, yet they end up receiving a lot of hate.

Between 1976 and 1987, Saudi Developmental Aid amounted to $49 billion, second only to the United States of America. The ODA/GNP ratio averaged 4.2% over this period, well above the highest amount provided by Development Assistance Committee countries (the DAC average is 0.35%).

In 2005, IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato appreciated Saudi Arabia’s role in providing economic and financial support to regional nations and developing countries in general.

The Saudi Fund was set up by royal decree in October 1974, to stimulate economic growth in developing nations. In the next four years, it gave soft loans totaling $3.1 billion to 51 countries, many of them with the lowest per-capita income bracket in the world.

Almost 60% of approved loans earmarked for transport, power and water projects. By 1979, the fund accounted for about 30 percent of the kingdom’s foreign economic aid.

In 2019, Saudi Arabia, through the Saudi Fund for Development, has become the third largest donor to UNRWA, as it donated $800 million since 1994. Moreover, in 2019, the fund provided support to maintain Palestinian refugee camps in different countries.

Saudi Arabia pledged $1 billion in export guarantees and soft loans to Iraq. For Lebanon, it pledged a total of $1.59 billion in assistance and deposits to the Central Bank of Lebanon in 2006 and pledged an additional $1.1 billion in early 2007.

Of that aid, $500 million were intended for reconstruction. After the 2003 Bam earthquake, Saudi Arabia pledged more than $200,000 to the victims.

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest providers of aid to the Palestinian people, since 2002, Saudi Arabia has given more than $480 million in monetary support to the Palestinian Authority, and has supported Palestinian refugees by contributing to the (UNRWA).

Through the Arab League, it has provided more than $250 million for the Palestinians, and pledged $500 million in assistance over the next three years at the Donors Conference in December 2007.

After the 2004, Indian Ocean earthquake and the resulting massive Tsunamis, the Saudi government gave $30 million in aid to the victims, including a $5 million private donation by King Fahd Al-Saud. Saudis in total, including citizens, donated more than $80 million.

In the aftermath of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, Saudi Arabia donated over US$3.3 million, more than any other country, and promised an additional $573 million, also the maximum amount of money pledged.

Saudi Arabia also provided 4000 pre-fabricated houses to Pakistan through the Saudi Public Assistance for Pakistan Earthquake Victims (SPAPEV). The houses, which were to be equipped with all required facilities, cost over $16.7 million.

The SPAPEV also distributed 230,000 blankets, 150,000 quilts, 10,000 ordinary tents, 2,500 special winterized waterproof tents, 100,000 stoves, 100,000 food.

The Saudi government pledged $230 million to development in Afghanistan. It has also pledged $133 million in direct grant aid, $187 million in concessional loans, and $153 million in export credits for Pakistan earthquake relief.

In the aftermath of the 2010 Pakistan floods, Saudi Arabia has donated more than US$361.99 million for the relief operation, topping the list of all donating countries.

Saudi Government donated $20 million on the first day whereas Saudi citizens donated more than $107 million were collected in the first three days. Saudi Arabia started the largest air relief bridge in the history and also donated two hospital consisting of 100 beds.

The Saudi Joint Committee for the Relief of Kosovo used $5 million to finance projects in rehabilitation, foodstuffs, relief materials, educational programs, sponsorship of orphans, health care programs and development.

Freights from Jeddah took 400,000 liters of milk as well as 900 cartons of clothing, 1,000 blankets, 25 water cisterns, medical supplies and surgical appliances such as wheelchairs to Pristina.

Saudi citizens donated $20 million to Kosovo in cash as well as food and medical supplies, and the Saudi Red Crescent sent medical volunteers.

In 2006, the Saudi government gave $10 million in aid to the horn of Africa, through the World Food Programme, of which Kenya received $2 million. Saudi prince Al-Walid bin Talal donated $1 million to help feed 3.5 million Kenyans during the drought.

King Salman Humanitarian and Relief Aid provided $37.6 billion aid to 130 countries.

Top recipients of Saudi Arabia’s aid are: $14 billion for Yemen, $2.5 billion for Syrian refugees, $2.08 billion for Egypt, $1 billion for Mauritania, and $975 million for Palestine.

Khaled Homoud Alshareef holds PhD in Business and he earned Masters in Philosophy. He often writes about Islamism, Islamist factions and modern Terrorism. He tweets under @0khalodi0.

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