The United States is a leader in international development cooperation because of the large size of its economy, its ability to influence global action and its presence within the international donor community. It is the largest donor in the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) with a record high net official development assistance (ODA) of USD 27.6 billion in 2005.
As a share of Gross National Income, this ODA represented 0.22%. While this was its highest level since 1986, the US ranks second to last within the DAC for this statistic. The bulk of this growth is explained by Iraq debt forgiveness and reconstruction; reconstruction and anti narcotics efforts in Afghanistan; and specific programs in Africa, primarily Sudan and Ethiopia. Given the substantial debt relief granted for 2004-05, aid volumes may be lower in the future, although an annual level over USD 20 billion is probable.U.S foreign assistance funding is fragmented among government institutions. USAID was responsible for 38.8% of total ODA in 2005 (down from 50.2% in 2002). A primary factor in this decline was the rapid increase in ODA disbursements managed by the Department of Defense (21.7% in 2005 versus 5.6% in 2002).
While the volume of (U.S. support for) multilateral ODA has fluctuated over time, its share of gross ODA has experienced a decline from almost 26% in 2002 to 8% in 2005. This figure is among the lowest of DAC member nations. Thus not only does the United States provide less official development assistance as a portion of GDP than virtually any other developed nation, it provides a smaller portion of that assistance via multilateral organizations such as UNESCO.