South Africa is both a recipient and a provider of development cooperation. Transfers to international organisations were a third of its 2012/13 development cooperation budget. Three-quarters of these funds went to African organisations and the UN.
There is limited information available on how much South Africa contributes to international development. But our estimates based on budget documents suggest that the country gave US$217 million in fiscal year 2012/13.
While the largest element of the budget was programme spending, at US$87 million or 40%, transfers to international organisations were the second largest at 33%, or US$71 million.
African organisations received 42% of these transfer funds: US$30 million. The African Union (US$18 million) and the Southern Africa Development Community (US$5.7 million). The African Development Bank/Fund received US$4.3 million, 6% of overall transfers.
The UN system was the second largest category of recipient with US$24 million (34% of the overall total).
These figures are based on available national budget information. While a useful source, the budget does not consistently and clearly explain the nature and purpose of these transfers. They may be membership fees, voluntary contributions, to repay loans and so on.*
Greater availability of data would help track, understand and evaluate South Africa’s development cooperation, and so help improve future allocation decisions.
*This analysis is based on selected transfers to those international organisations with the main objective linked to development. Information on transfer’s purpose was used to assess its relevance where this was available.
Read our budget brief for details