THE world of foreign aid is much like the Olympics: countries jostle to show their national colours in as many arenas as possible. Among the 41 donor countries that provided data on their generosity in 2014 to the OECD—a club of mostly rich states—Japan leads the table, sending development aid to 141 countries and territories. America, which gave the most money overall, is second, with 132 beneficiaries. Small budgets are not a deterrent for avid aid-givers. Tiny Luxembourg, for example, gave to 74 countries, splitting among them less money than America gave to Burkina Faso alone. The most popular beneficiaries meanwhile were Afghanistan, China, the Palestinian territories and Uganda, each of which received aid from 35 countries.

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