Background image from the book "A dizzying task: Sweden and development aid 1945–1975", Ordfront

The history of Swedish development assistance - 70 years of lessons learned

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Sweden is today one of the world's largest donors in relation to population. The "one percent target" was set by the Riksdag in 1968 and Sweden's development assistance has been at an internationally relatively high level since the mid-1970s. But how did Swedish development assistance develop? What challenges did the pioneers of Swedish development assistance face? How has development assistance developed over the last 70 years? What can we learn from the history of development aid today?

This webinar, which is co-organized by the Expert Group for Development Aid Analysis (EBA) and the Association for Development Issues (FUF), draws attention to the launch of the book A dizzying task: Sweden and development aid 1945–1975, written by Annika Berg, Urban Lundberg and Mattias Tydén from Stockholm University. The book reports on a major research project on the history of Swedish development assistance funded by the Swedish Research Council.

During the seminar, the authors introduce their book, we discuss parallels and similarities between now and then and try to learn lessons from history. The seminar "dives into" four themes (as relevant in 2021 as during the post-war period):

  • The motives for providing assistance - "the fraudulent task".
  • The one percent goal - establishment, realization and today.
  • The anchoring of development assistance - broad inclusion and information initiatives.
  • The development aid debate - media, opinion and review


Annika Berg, Associate Professor of History of Ideas, Stockholm University

Urban Lundberg, Associate Professor of History, Dalarna University

Mattias Tydén, Associate Professor of History, Stockholm University

Lennart Wohlgemuth, early aid worker and guest professor, University of Gothenburg

moderator: Kim Forss, EBA

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