Did you know that Ethiopia was the first recipient of Dutch official development assistance (ODA) in 2017, before Afghanistan, Bangladesh and the Syrian Arab Republic? Did you also know that the country was the third recipient of U.S. ODA that same year?

Totaling $4.2 billion received in international ODA in 2017, Ethiopia is indeed the second largest recipient of development aid among 141 developing countries in the world, and the first when looking at Africa alone, according to the report World Development Aid at a Glance published by the OECD in 2019.

Is your organization headquartered or active in Ethiopia and in need of diverse sources of funding? Then this brief overview of top institutional donors for projects conducted in Ethiopia will be of great interest to you! 

What is development aid supporting in Ethiopia

There is a clear focus on Social Aid from the international community in Ethiopia. Indeed, more than half of the ODA received in 2017 was destined to programs tackling Health and Education issues, as well as Water Supply and Sanitation. An additional emphasis is put on Humanitarian Aid and Production Aid (i.e. Agriculture and Food Security in that specific case), which represented respectively 16% and 14% of the official development assistance granted in 2017 to the country.

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Which actors are actively channeling aid to Ethiopia

The top 10 donors of ODA in Ethiopia alone represented 85% of the overall gross ODA received by the country on average in 2016-2017. Among them are organizations like the International Development Association, EU Institutions, the African Development Bank, the Global Fund, and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, as well as countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands.


International Development Association

As part of the World Bank, the International Development Association (IDA) aims to reduce poverty in the world’s poorest countries through loans and grants allocated to programs that focus on economic growth, the reduction of inequalities, and the improvement of people’s living conditions. In 2016-2017, the IDA alone represented on average more than a quarter of the gross official development aid granted to Ethiopia, thus being the main institutional donor to the country.

Zoom on Dutch assistance

Overall, the Dutch development cooperation policy focuses on defending people’s rights and opportunities to develop successful lives under stable governments. To do so, the Netherlands primarily supports programs that tackle Security, Legal Order, Water Management, Food and Agriculture as well as Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), with a transversal emphasis on Women’s Rights, Entrepreneurship and Climate Change. In Ethiopia, the Dutch development cooperation particularly focuses on:

Food Security by supporting activities to

  • Reduce household vulnerability in food insecure areas;
  • Increase agricultural productivity and market access in surplus producing areas;
  • Increase the competitiveness of specific agribusiness subsectors.


  • Strengthening the health system;
  • Supporting non-state actors in their effort to increase access to SRHR services;
  • Promoting comprehensive sexuality education;
  • Facilitating the coordination of multiple actors working in SRHR.

Security and Rule of Law with an emphasis on

  • Human rights in the Ethiopian justice system;
  • Sustainable security;
  • Inclusive political dialogue;
  • Well-defined and transparent policy.

Zoom on U.S. assistance

Following Ethiopia’s political agenda and objectives, the United States foreign assistance policy in the country focuses on promoting Peace and Security, Economic Growth and Development, and Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights. Through its support, the United States hopes to:

  • Help Ethiopians gain access to better healthcare and education;
  • Improve food security;
  • Advance prospects for better livelihoods;
  • Improve security in the country;
  • Promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Over the past 5 years, most of the resources were therefore channeled on activities related to Humanitarian Aid, Health, Economic Development, Education and Social Services, Program Management, and Environment.

    Claire Barthet

    Over the years, Claire put her marketing and communication skills at the service of both non-profit and cultural organizations in Europe, Asia and South America. She also shaped and trained teams in both sectors. She now enthusiastically shares her experience with Han Valk Fundraising Consultancy as well as with our partners.

    Joseph Agodzo

    With a background in both Sustainable Development and Entrepreneurship, Joseph has more than 7 years of experience working with Social Purpose Organizations in Africa. He has been helping organizations grow by combining his skills in sustainability and entrepreneurship.

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