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Relief Funds Compared to GDP

Thursday, December 30 2004

I was disturbed by what seems like a huge disparity between what the US can give and is actually giving to tsunami damaged countries. I put together a table that contains a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared to what that country’s government has recently pledged towards relief efforts, and the percentage of the GDP that that pledge is.

Comparing the donation to GDP isn’t exactly fair considering that GDP doesn’t mean “cash on hand” – it’s more of a country’s “cash producing potential”. But looking at GDP definitely gives you an idea of which countries are wealthy, and which countries aren’t.

Also to consider, the donation amounts are cash. As best I could, I removed any figures that included food and medical supplies or other non-cash contributions (such as sending teams in, or vehicles, etc). I used this Wikipedia Page as well as the CIA World Factbook to build the table. The countries are sorted by percentage of GDP donated in descending order.

Country GDP (B) Donated (M) Percentage Notes
Switzerland $239B $22M 0.0092%
Denmark $167B $12.79M 0.0077%
India $3033B $183M 0.0060%
New Zealand $85B $5M 0.0059%
Luxembourg $25B $1.3M 0.0052%
Australia $571B $25M 0.0044%
Kuwait $41B $1.7M 0.0041%
UAE $57B $2M 0.0035%
Canada $958B $33M 0.0034%
Italy $155B $3.9M 0.0025%
Finland $142B $3.4M 0.0024%
Croatia $47B $1M 0.0021%
Saudi Arabia $287B $5M 0.0017%
United Kingdom $1666B $29M 0.0017%
Ireland $116B $1.4M 0.0012%
France $1661B $20M 0.0012%
Germany $2271B $26M 0.0011%
Taiwan $528B $5M 0.0009%
Iceland $8B $70K 0.0009%
Japan $3582B $31M 0.0009%
Austria $245B $1.5M 0.0006%
Netherlands $461B $2.7M 0.0006%
Mozambique $21B $0.1M 0.0005% 70% citizens below poverty
Sweden $238B $1.04M 0.0004%
China $6449B $21.63M 0.0003%
Belgium $299B $1M 0.0003%
Czech Republic $161B $500K 0.0003%
Singapore $109B $300K 0.0003%
Turkey $458B $1M 0.0002%
Greece $213B $40K 0.0000%
United States $10990B $19M 0.0002% Additional $20M line of credit
South Korea $857B $1.4M 0.0002%
Cambodia $25B $40K 0.0002%
Spain $885B $1.3M 0.0001% $68M Loan
Isreal $120B $100K 0.0001%
Poland $427M $300K 0.0001%
Pakistan $318B $200K 0.0001%
Mexico $941B $100K 0.0000%
Hungary $139B $0 0.0000%

Most disturbing to me is that some of the wealthiest countries are contributing less, dollar for dollar, than countries far less wealthy.

Also, I keep seeing on the news that Spain is contributing $69M, which isn’t true. Nearly all of that $69M is a loan. Loans are not charity.