Israel, Estonia and Slovenia Join the OECD (UPDATE)

Israel, Slovenia and Estonia were invited to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of (now 34) wealthy democracies.  The OECD does a host of things, from helping to stabilize its members’ economies to serving as a focal point for assisting in the economic development of poorer countries.

My favorite OECD product is its annual tally of the amount of money that its member countries allocate in Official Development Assistance. They measure this as a percentage of the country’s Gross National Income, so it serves as a pretty good way to compare the relative generosity of wealthier countries.  The UN recommends that donor countries set aside 0.7% of their gross national income for development projects in poorer countries. Some OECD members are above that target, but most are below.

So where would the newest members fall on the generosity scale?  I asked the OECD.  They will not have the 2009 data until the end of the year. And there is no information yet for Slovenia and Estonia.   But using 2008 figures, Israel would fall at the bottom of the pack, at 0.07% of its GNI going to Official Development Assistance. (In 2009, the most generous country, Sweden, was at 1.12%; the United States, 0.2%; and Korea — the lowest — at 0.1%). 

I guessed it would be fairly low.  After all, until it joined the OECD yesterday Israel was not considered a “donor” country. But now that it is a part of this elite group, we can probably expect that figure to rise. 

UPDATE: The OECD helpfully sends along data on Slovenia and Estonia.  Slovenia’s ODA/GNI ratio in 2008 was 0.13%; Estonia’s ODA/GNI ratio in 2008 was 0.1%.