Since the mid-1970s (1390s AH), Saudi Arabia has been a leading donor in terms of ODA (Overseas Development Aid) volume and ODA/GNP ratio:
Disbursements from 1975 to 1987 amounted to US$48 billion, second only to the United States of America. The ODA/GNP ratio averaged 4.2% over this period, well above the highest among DAC countries (the DAC average is 0.35%).
Under pressure of sharply falling oil revenues, uncertainties regarding the future of the oil market and the regional security situation, Saudi Arabian ODA volume declined from a peak of US $5.5 billion in 1981 to US $2.6 billion in 1985, but recovered to US $3.5 billion in 1986. In 1987, it was about US $2.9 billion. As a proportion of the Kingdom's oil revenues, ODA has risen from 10% in 1983-1985 to 15% in 1986-1987, and Saudi Arabia's ratio of ODA to GNP has remained by far the highest among all donors. Saudi aid is untied, quick-disbursing, and highly concessional, with a grant element of 96% (1986).