Founded in 2017, Generocity is a social interest group that advocates increased official development assistance (ODA) from Hong Kong. With huge fiscal reserves, we believe the HKSAR government can and should pursue the goal of improving the welfare of developing countries by providing more ODA. Mechanisms for doing so might include a rise in the current emergency disaster relief funding or contributing to effective long-term health and anti-poverty programs.



    It is the best of times and the worst of times. In this century, Hong Kong, like many other developed economies, enjoys an unprecedented level of wealth as our government sits on fiscal reserves of about HK$1 trillion and foreign exchange reserves of about HK$3 trillion. Nevertheless, while we live in a prosperous, secure city, hundreds of millions of people around the world struggle to meet their most basic needs. According to the World Bank, 2/3 of a billion people live in extreme poverty (less than HK$17/day). About 90 million people are refugees. Globally, about 2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water.



    In several locations in Senegal, it took an average of 9.7 hours for each household to collect water, including the time to travel, wait in line, and fill the container. Because the wells were shallow and the water not cleaned, water-borne diseases were common.


    While many of us donate to charity as individuals, developed economies around the world have opted for a more systematic approach — Official Development Assistance — often channelled through international organisations like the United Nations and the International Red Cross to tackle pressing issues in the developing world, such as poverty, water, and disease.


    Hong Kong is Asia’s World City. As an affluent and well-established society, we should join ODA donors like South Korea, Denmark, Japan, and New Zealand to play a bigger part in the world.



    Denmark funded training for farmers in Bangladesh. Families in the program increased their income 17% more than similar families outside the program. They also grew a greater variety of crops and were less likely to suffer food shortages. The benefits exceeded the cost of the program within a year.


    Sleeping under bed nets like this one can prevent mosquito bites and malaria. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was created in 2002 to fight three of the world’s most devastating diseases. By 2022, it spent HK$430 billion worldwide and saved about 50 million lives, more than six times the population of Hong Kong.


    Established in 2015, the UN Sustainable Development Goal’s Target 17.2 calls for developed economies to contribute at least 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) as ODA. A number of countries, including Sweden, Luxembourg and the UK, meet this goal, and many other nations donate substantial amounts.


    Currently, the Hong Kong government gives very little official development aid, far below what other developed economies donate per capita.


    There is currently no spending on recurring development assistance, though the Hong Kong government does spend a variable amount on emergency disaster relief, ranging in recent years from HK$64 million (in 2017-8) to HK$72 million (in 2020-1), or 0.0021% to 0.0023% of the 2021 GNI of HK$3.1 trillion. For comparison, the Hong Kong government allocates 13%, 19% and 10% of its budget (or 3.6%, 5.3% and 2.8% of Hong Kong’s GNI) to education, health, and infrastructure, respectively.



    Generocity was founded to promote the concept of development assistance by Hong Kong. Through public engagement and communication efforts, it is hoped that the idea can receive support among citizens. Ultimately, we wish to persuade the government to change its development assistance policy.


    We must recognise the current aid situation before advocating changes. To understand the reality of the existing Disaster Relief Fund, we communicate with non-governmental organisations participating in the DRF in Hong Kong. In general, they are very supportive of the fund. More information will be provided in the future.


    To determine the views of the public, we collaborated with the Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme to conduct a survey, which we published in the journal PLOS ONE in 2018. The median of the portion of the Hong Kong government’s budget that people want to be spent on the Disaster Relief Fund is 2.4%.






    To change the long-standing government policy, we need more than a few hands. Stand together and show the government that you support our cause. Leave your email to receive our updates.


    Who are the people behind Generocity?

    We are volunteers interested in expanding Hong Kong’s role in joining other developed regions to help the poorest people of the world. We welcome you to join us. Here is our team:

    1. Dr. Larry Baum, Honorary Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Hong Kong
    2. Brian Tse, Founder and President, Effective Altruism Hong Kong
    3. Dr. Tony Nelson, Clinical Professional Consultant and Professor of Practice, Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong 
    4. Alan Li Zhilin, Research Assistant, Department of Politics and Public Administration, The University of Hong Kong

    Can I donate to Generocity?

    We welcome volunteers to offer their time to help our effort. Please contact us.

    Why not help people in Hong Kong first?

    It’s not necessary to choose only one or the other. We have enough money to increase the help we give to people both inside and outside Hong Kong. Even with Hong Kong’s low tax rates, the government has fiscal reserves of about HK$1 trillion and foreign exchange reserves of about HK$3 trillion.

    Isn't development assistance wasted by corruption?

    Some ODA is squandered by corruption. To minimise this problem, governments that donate money can continuously re-evaluate the governments and charities they give to, concentrating their funding on organisations with long track records of efficiency. For example, among the top five recipients of money from the government’s Disaster Relief Fund have been World Vision Hong Kong, The Salvation Army, Hong Kong Red Cross, Oxfam Hong Kong and Amity Foundation Hong Kong.

    Since trillions of dollars of ODA hasn't ended poverty, isn't aid useless?

    Although ODA is large, the world economy is about 500 times larger, thus expecting the rapid end of all poverty and related problems of hunger and disease is not realistic. However, ODA has achieved tremendous improvements. It was the major factor in reducing deaths from malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis by 40% since 2002 in many countries​.

    Since the world's population is exploding, if we save lives of poor people, won't that just lead to more people who will ultimately starve?

    The population explosion of the mid-twentieth century, when women had an average of about 5 children, is ending. The average number of children per woman is now about 2.3, and still falling, with that number now below 2.5 in many populous developing countries, including Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, Algeria, China, and Mexico. If each woman has an average of about two children, the population will be stable, and if the current trend of declining birth rates continues, the global population will gradually stabilize later this century.

    What can Hong Kong do to help?

    We could expand the existing Disaster Relief Fund by allowing aid for longer-term recovery rather than only for short-term emergency assistance, or by raising the administrative cost limit from 5% to 10%. We could also contribute to health and anti-poverty programs by highly effective organizations, either based in Hong Kong or abroad, such as The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Against Malaria Foundation, Iodine Global Network, or One Acre Fund.