Gates philanthropy is 40% of all cross-border development funding, finds OECD report


Alliance magazine


The OECD Centre on Philanthropy has launched a report today looking at the role of private philanthropy for development – the report is the second edition of Private Philanthropy for Development and provides open and comparable data about philanthropic flows towards developing countries.

‘With a total giving of USD 42 billion from 2016 to 2019, private philanthropy for development has become an integral part of the development finance landscape’, said OECD Development Centre Director Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir in the report’s editorial. ‘As the priorities of the Sustainable Development Goals come face-to-face with the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, it is more urgent than ever to harness the promise of philanthropy.’

Some of the report’s key findings are that sources of philanthropic giving for developing countries are highly concentrated – nearly 40 per cent of cross-border philanthropy was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The report also casts new light on the role of domestic philanthropy in the Global South. Domestic foundations in developing countries accounted for 19 per cent of total philanthropic flows for development over 2016-19. In India, the People’s Republic of China and Mexico, their financing surpassed incoming international philanthropic flows.

Other key findings highlight some of the challenges philanthropy faces when it comes to development. The report found that private philanthropy has remained modest when compared to official development assistance, most philanthropic funding targets upper-middle-income countries, foundations are not yet realising their full potential regarding monitoring and evaluation, and limited transparency is holding back collaboration among philanthropic donors.

The OECD’s report has some key recommendations for both public and private actors. For foundations, the report suggests investing in rigorous learning, sharing data, and increasing internal capacities will help their reach and impact. For government, the report encourages greater transparency in the philanthropic sector and suggests considering removing constraints on cross-border philanthropy.

The full report can be accessed on

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