This profile has been updated in March 2018.
Strategic priorities
  • The ‘Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2018-2021’, published in March 2018, outlines seven sectoral priorities of Spanish ODA, all linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 1) zero hunger; 2) good health and well-being; 3) quality education; 4) gender equality; 5) clean water and sanitation; 6) decent work and economic growth; and 7) peace, justice and strong institutions.
  • Gender equality and democratic governance are cross-cutting sectors of Spain’s ODA: This is reflected in its bilateral programming: support to governance and civil society, including for women’s rights, is the largest sector for bilateral funding to projects in partner countries.
  • Spain seeks to establish new models of development cooperation with middle-income and least-developed countries in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. This includes through ‘triangular’ cooperation programs, blended finance, and the delegated cooperation of the European Union (EU).
  • Agriculture and food security together are a key priority of Spanish ODA. Health has traditionally been a priority sector, but in recent years funding levels have been low.
Key opportunities
  • The Spanish Parliament Development Committee’s non-binding resolution in 2017 to increase ODA to 0.40% of GNI by 2020 may generate further resources for development programs. In addition, Spanish economic growth is expected to continue to recover (GDP growth was 3.1% in 2017 and projected to be 2.7% in 2018), which will lead to higher public spending.
  • Under Spain’s current minority government, Parliament is now in a key position to influence the government’s decision-making and the budget. This brings about opportunities to increase ODA funding and shape allocations. The parliament is expected to be largely supportive of ODA.

Key Questions

the big six

Spain has a traditional cooperation relationship with Peru, where it focuses on enhancing civil society’s capacities and fostering democratic participation

Spain

Outlook

How will Spain's ODA develop? — What will Spain's ODA focus on? —What are key opportunities for shaping Spain's development policy? read more

How will Spain’s ODA develop?

  • Spain’s net ODA is expected to increase from its 2015 levels (US$1.4 billion) in coming years, as the economy recovers (2016 levels were inflated by Cuban debt relief). The Congress’ Development Committee approved a resolution in November 2016 for Spain’s ODA to reach 0.4% of its GNI by 2020.
  • Spain is likely to increase its use of ODA loans and equity investments in the coming years due to its strong focus on middle-income countries (MICs). In accordance with Span’s focus on the 2030 Agenda, ODA grants (mostly to low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa) are also likely to increase with budgetary limitations overcome.  

What will Spain’s ODA focus on?

  • The ‘Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2018-2021’, published in March 2018, outlines seven sectoral priorities of Spanish ODA, all linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 1) zero hunger; 2) good health and well-being; 3) quality education; 4) gender equality; 5) clean water and sanitation; 6) decent work and economic growth; and 7) peace, justice and strong institutions
  • To increase the effectiveness of its development assistance, Spain has reduced its number of priority countries from 50 in 2013 to 21. Almost all of the 21 priority countries are located in three regions: Latin America (12), sub-Saharan Africa (5), and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region (3).
  • Spain has developed strong capacities to cooperate with MICs: it is focusing on innovative development modalities (e.g., triangular partnerships, South-South cooperation, and blended finance) to adapt to its traditional partner countries’ needs. Due to security and migration reasons, Spain’s development focus on Western Africa and the Sahel region may be strengthened as well.

What are key opportunities for shaping Spain’s development policy?

  • Under Spain’s current minority government, Parliament is now in a key, strategic position to influence the government’s decision-making and the budget, including for ODA. Given Parliament’s demonstrated commitment to ODA, this represents an opportunity to advocate to members of Parliament for increased ODA funding and influence allocations.
  • The government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, in place since November 2016, has reiterated its commitment to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition to setting up a high-level ministerial taskforce for the 2030 Agenda implementation, the new political leadership at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC) has launched its new ‘Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2018-2021’. It has announced that it will welcome recommendations to implement its new plan from parliamentarians, think tanks, NGOs, and multilaterals.