The Government reforms development assistance, with focus on freedom, empowerment and sustainable growth
Today, the Government decided on the direction of Sida’s activities and the financial conditions for Swedish development assistance in 2024. This marks the first concrete step towards implementation of the ‘Development assistance for a new era – freedom, empowerment and sustainable growth’ reform agenda.
“With today’s decision we are taking important steps to implement the Government’s reform agenda so that development assistance becomes more long-term in its approach, transparent and effective. We are also developing the Transparency Guarantee to ensure that Swedish citizens gain greater insight into how their tax money is used,” says Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell.
The Government is now setting clear goals for Sida, including increasing synergies between development cooperation, promotion and trade. This will strengthen the economic growth of partner countries and improve the living conditions of people living in poverty and oppression. To a greater extent, development assistance activities must provide leverage to mobilise private capital. In addition, a clearer focus on countering irregular migration will be introduced in development cooperation.
“The Government wants Sweden’s development assistance to be used as effectively as possible, and that it is used where it does the most good. No country has been lifted out of poverty through international development assistance alone. Stimulating economic growth and trade in our partner countries is thus a key starting point for the Government’s efforts to tackle poverty around the world. Limited resources and increasing needs abroad mean that the Government must set difficult but necessary priorities for Sweden’s development assistance,” says Mr Forssell.
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine also represents a paradigm shift for development assistance. EU integration and economic development, and peace and security in Ukraine and our neighbourhood, are fundamental in the efforts to tackle the challenges facing Sweden and Europe. The Government’s strong focus on Ukraine and our neighbourhood is a key component in the shift of development assistance policy and is expressed in the priorities the Government has set in the appropriation directions for Sida.
Sida’s appropriation directions
Sida’s appropriation directions contain concrete provisions on the following:
- increase synergies between trade and development assistance;
- development assistance must provide leverage for other financial flows;
- to a greater extent, prevent and manage climate change, contribute to expanding and streamlining Sweden’ climate aid;
- safeguard Swedish interests by counteracting irregular migration and its associated risks, promoting returns, voluntary repatriation and sustainable reintegration, and mitigating the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement;
- have greater focus on fewer countries;
- to a greater extent, be more flexible and adapted to complex and rapidly changing environments;
- increase the transparency of Swedish development assistance to ensure that Swedish citizens are aware of how their resources are used; and
- begin preparing a special initiative on creating the conditions for free elections (via instructions to Sida).