Sweden

Introduction

Sweden is a DAC leader in providing gender-focused aid and has in place a comprehensive toolbox for leaving no one behind. As evidenced in the 2019 DAC Peer Review, Sweden has shown leadership at the international level on peace and conflict prevention, environmental sustainability and climate change, and gender equality. Sweden is also an effective humanitarian donor, implementing a co-ordinated approach to addressing the development, humanitarian and peace nexus in fragile and crisis contexts.

Although strongly committed to the international development effectiveness principles, the DAC Peer Review suggests that Sweden do more to partner with and use the systems of developing country governments. Sweden has adopted a pioneering approach to deliver long-term sustainable results, through learning and adaptive programming.

Official development assistance

In 2018, Sweden was the most generous OECD-DAC donor as measured by the percentage of gross national income (GNI) provided as official development assistance (ODA) (1.04%). Sweden’s bilateral aid supports least developed countries (LDCs), especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, and is focused on supporting democracy building, civil society and gender equality. Sweden is a valued multilateral donor, providing flexible and predictable resources to international institutions, allocating a high share of its multilateral aid to the United Nations system.

In 2018, Sweden provided USD 5.8 billion in total ODA (preliminary data, current prices), using the new “grant-equivalent” methodology (see the methodological notes for further details) adopted by DAC members on their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. This represented 1.04% of GNI. Under the “cash-flow basis” methodology used in the past, 2018 net ODA was USD 5.8 billion, which represented a 4.5% decrease in real terms from 2017.

In 2017, in-donor refugee costs were USD 828 million, a decrease of 1.5% in real terms over 2016, and represented 14.9% of Sweden’s total net ODA.

Sweden’s share of untied bilateral ODA (excluding administrative costs and in-donor refugee costs) was 87.8% in 2017 (down from 96.3% in 2016), while the DAC country average was 82.1%. The decrease in 2017 was mainly due to improved screening for tied aid at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and was predominately related to aid channeled through Swedish government agencies and universities. The grant element of total ODA was 100% in 2017. Non-grants represented 0.8% of gross ODA.

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In 2017, 69% of gross ODA was provided bilaterally, of which 29% was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions). Sweden allocated 31% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

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In 2017, country programmable aid was 36% of Sweden’s bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 48% (see the methodological notes for further details on country programmable aid). Project-type interventions accounted for 54% of this aid.

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In 2017, Sweden channelled 36.5% of gross bilateral ODA through the public sector, down from 39.1% in 2016. The share of bilateral ODA channelled through private sector institutions was 0.8%. In 2017, Sweden channelled USD 157 million through universities or other teaching and research institutions, equal to 4% of its gross bilateral ODA. See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

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In 2017, USD 1.1 billion of gross bilateral ODA was channelled to and through civil society organisations (CSOs). Between 2016 and 2017, ODA channelled to and through CSOs increased as a share of bilateral aid (from 27% to 28%). Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and the Civil Society Days.

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Bilateral ODA was primarily focused on sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, USD 1 billion was allocated to sub-Saharan Africa, USD 284 million to the Middle East, and USD 250 million to South and Central Asia.

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In 2017, 20.3% of gross bilateral ODA went to Sweden’s top 10 recipients. All of its top 10 recipients are priority partners. In 2017, its support to fragile contexts reached USD 1.4 billion (34.8% of gross bilateral ODA). Support to fragile contexts consisted mainly of contributions to pooled funds (48%) and project-type interventions (45%). Learn more about support to fragile contexts.

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In 2017, 26.9% of Sweden’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 1 billion) was allocated to the LDCs, compared to the DAC country average of 23.5%. This is an increase from 24.8% in 2016. The LDCs received the highest share of bilateral ODA in 2017, noting that 57% was unallocated by income group.

At 0.31% of GNI in 2017, total ODA to the LDCs (including imputed multilateral flows) exceeded the UN target of 0.15-0.20% of GNI.

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In 2017, 39.7% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 1.4 billion) was allocated to social infrastructure and services, with a focus on support to government and civil society (USD 870 million). Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 392 million. In 2017, Sweden committed USD 3 million of ODA to support developing countries to raise domestic revenue, amounting to 0.12% of bilateral allocable aid. In 2017, Sweden also committed USD 383 million (15% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy.

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USD 2.2 billion of gross bilateral allocable ODA supported gender equality. In 2017, 87.2% of Sweden’s bilateral sector-allocable aid had gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal or significant objective (nearly stable with 87.6% in 2016), compared with the DAC country average of 36.3%. Sweden has a strong focus on gender equality in all sectors. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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USD 970 million of bilateral ODA commitments supported the environment. In 2017, 38% of Sweden’s gross bilateral allocable aid supported the environment and 21% (USD 532 million) focused on climate change, compared with the respective DAC country averages of 33% and 25%. Allocations supporting the environment decreased from 46% in 2016, while those focused on climate change fell from 30% in 2016. The proportion of bilateral allocable ODA focusing specifically on adaptation fell from 28% in 2016 to 20% in 2017 and the proportion focusing specifically on mitigation from 15% to 14%.Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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Other financial flows and amounts mobilised from the private sector

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In 2017, Sida and the Swedish development finance institution – Swedfund – mobilised USD 150.3 million from the private sector through syndicated loans, guarantees, shares in collective investment vehicles (CIVs), as well as simple co-financing arrangements with the private sector.

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Of the country-allocable private finance mobilised in 2012-17, 69% targeted middle-income countries and 27% the LDCs.

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Sweden’s private finance mobilised in 2012-17 mainly related to activities in the energy (24%); industry, mining and construction (22%); population policies/programmes and reproductive health (10%); and health (8%) sectors. Learn more about the amounts mobilised from private sector for development.

Institutional set-up

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) has the mandate to define Sweden’s development co-operation policy and to manage the related budget. In 2017, the MFA directly implemented 49% of reported total ODA. The MFA is also responsible for managing the government’s agencies that implement Sweden’s development co-operation. Sida is the largest implementing agency, responsible for 48% of Sweden’s total ODA in 2017. The other five main ODA implementation agencies are Swedfund, the Swedish Institute, the Folke Bernadotte Academy, the Swedish Research Council and Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency.

The 2019 DAC Peer Review found that Sweden has enhanced co-ordination between the MFA and Sida, enabling it to deliver a cohesive and coherent programme. Steps have also been taken to improve alignment between the MFA and the other implementing agencies.

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Evaluation system

The government bodies in charge of evaluation are Sida and the Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA). Sida reports to the government, the MFA and the Department for International Development Cooperation; so does EBA, albeit with a more independent mandate. In addition, the Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) may, at the request of the Swedish government, carry out studies and evaluations of the management of the Department for International Development Cooperation. Sida’s Unit for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation has a dual mandate of supporting the agency’s various units regarding decentralised independent evaluations of Sida-funded programmes and undertaking more independent and strategic evaluations. On the other hand, the Expert Group for Aid Studies is an independent committee appointed by the Swedish government and established to evaluate and analyse Sweden’s international development co-operation. Read more about Sweden’s evaluation system.

EBA is currently evaluating Swedish central authorities’ reform co-operation on the Western Balkans and participating in the joint evaluation of the Nordic Development Fund. Read Sweden’s evaluation plan.

Visit the DAC Evaluation Resource Centre website for evaluations of Swedish development co-operation.

Performance against the commitments for effective development co-operation

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Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

Additional resources

2019 DAC Peer Review of Sweden: http://www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/peer-review-sweden.htm

Ministry for Foreign Affairs: https://www.government.se/government-of-sweden/ministry-for-foreign-affairs

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida): https://www.sida.se/English

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1965.

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