The COVID-19 crisis has direct and immediate implications for official development assistance (ODA) budgets. The health impact of this global pandemic has called for resources to respond. The social and economic fallout from shutdown measures and an unprecedented global recession will hit the most vulnerable the worst, likely with long-lasting effects.
Assessing 60 years of ODA flows and evidence, this chapter shows that it is the most stable external resource for developing countries, has been resilient to economic crises, and is driven, above all, by political will and global solidarity.
The importance of ODA’s dependability and capacity to invest strategically is shown through a deep-dive analysis of trends in support of health systems and social protection, which have proven critical to a relevant government response to the COVID-19 crisis. Against the backdrop of this strong track record, the authors look at three possible scenarios for ODA budgets in 2020 and 2021 – testing hypotheses of an increase to support global recovery; holding steady despite economic downturn; or falling due to the global recession. The chapter suggests that ODA can continue to be dependable in times of crisis.