Sweden is to halve the number of countries to which it pays foreign aid. The number of recipient countries is to be cut from 70 to 33, with China, Vietnam, Laos and the Phillippnes among those losing out. Cambodia will keep receiving aid.
According to Gunilla Carlsson, Minister for Development Cooperation, the cancellation of aid programmes is “not a money-saving measure.” The 9.5 billion kronor ($1.38 billion) bilateral aid budget will remain, but will be redistributed and focused on a smaller number of countries.
Countries to lose Swedish aid are: China, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Belarus.
Countries which will continue to receive Swedish aid will be:
Long-term development assisstance: Cambodia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Bangladesh, and Bolivia.
Countries currently or recently involved in conflicts: East Timor, Afghanistan, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, the West Bank and Gaza, Colombia and Guatemala.
Countries in eastern Europe: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldavia, Serbia, Turkey och Ukraine.
“We should not be too worried about axing aid projects. We have now created order and structure in Swedish aid. The relevant thing now is to discuss the content of what we do,” Carlsson said.
Those countries that need foreign aid are not best served by having a large numbers of donors, Carlsson argued in an article in Dagens Nyheter on Monday.
“Their administrations, which are often limited in size, are weighed down by handling contact with a large number of donors,” she wrote.
Sweden recently closed down its embassies in Vietnam and Malaysia – then cancelled the closures again.