Sorry Sweden, Luxembourg is now the most generous country in the world

When it comes to generosity, little Luxembourg has plenty to be proud of.
When it comes to generosity, little Luxembourg has plenty to be proud of.
Image: Reuters/Vincent Kessler
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That’s according to a recent update to data on official development assistance offered by the nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


Luxembourg is better known as a secretive tax haven—along with places like the Cayman Islands and Switzerland—than as a leading source of development aid. But it has overtaken Scandinavian nations Sweden, Denmark ,and Norway, which are well-known as generous development donors.

In 2011, Sweden was the most generous donor, according to the OECD’s key metric, which is official development assistance as a share of gross national income. But Luxembourg overtook Sweden this year, thanks to a rise in bilateral grants. As part of a government plan, Luxembourg had made a commitment to keep its development assistance as a share of national income at around 1%.

The three top recipients of aid from Luxembourg are the African nations of Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Here’s a look at the 2012 OECD numbers:


For the record, the OECD’s determination of generosity rests on the aforementioned aid-to-gross national income metric. But in terms of raw dollar giving ,the US is still the biggest source of development aid in the world. The US shelled out $31 billion in development aid in 2012, with top recipients being Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. By comparison, Luxembourg donated $399 million. On the other hand, the US doesn’t dig too deep in its big pockets, giving just 0.2% of national income in official aid.