Debate

Aid of the future

At SIPU, we hope that administrative assistance will continue and increase in importance. We would like to see more attempts to coordinate government efforts around a number of common goals so that the basic problems of weak institutions are tackled on a broad front. It writes Anders Olin, CEO of FCG SIPU International

Much has happened in the world in recent decades in terms of social and economic development, and by all accounts we will see even more radical changes in the coming ones. Poverty is declining overall, as is the number of low-income countries. In the growing number of middle-income countries, however, poverty remains, and of course it also exists in many of the richest countries with large income disparities.

Although poverty is fortunately declining, there are certainly no shortage of challenges for the future. But the climate threat, conflict hotspots and refugee flows are serious threats to development in all countries, rich and poor.

At the same time, other financial flows are becoming increasingly important for change and development in the poorest countries. Loans, remittances and direct investments are becoming more important. What significance can a relatively smaller aid flow have?

At present, the thinking process is also in full swing with the goals that will follow the Millennium Development Goals. That planning horizon extends beyond 2030, and although the new goals will be equally applicable to all countries regardless of national income, they will certainly affect the agenda for development assistance in the future.

Will development cooperation, as it has been so far with program countries, play a role at all? We will see a development where aid is concentrated in certain selected countries and sectors. Or will it become more opportunistic and look for contexts where it can have a leverage effect on other already ongoing collaborations?

At SIPU, we follow with interest how attitudes to, and policy on, administrative issues and institutional development change over time. We see a great need for further efforts to improve tax systems, the rule of law and social security systems in the countries that have now crossed the poverty line. Here, Sweden has a comparative advantage in that we are known for efficient and relatively uncorrupted management.

At present, however, this is not the main focus for Swedish development assistance. Concentrated and sustainable reform support is unusual. Sida supports Swedish authorities that cooperate with other authorities, but in our opinion this often has the character of downpipe interventions that have weak connections with each other and partly therefore a moderate effect when it comes to the broad structural problems that are the root causes of weak institutions. In order to achieve lasting results, one must work with large parts of the administration at the same time and build capacity in the local institutions that are set to drive this development, so that a new government culture can take root. Training, organizational development efforts and in many cases changes in the law are required, but above all time and perseverance are needed.

At SIPU, we hope that administrative assistance will continue and increase in importance. We would like to see more attempts to coordinate government efforts around a number of common goals so that the basic problems of weak institutions are tackled on a broad front. We at SIPU would like to help make this possible.

Anders Olin

VD

FCG SIPU International

Which recently changed its name to make it clear that we are part of the Finnish consulting group FCG, which is owned by the Finnish Association of Local Authorities. SIPU is also arranging a seminar during Almedalen Week on the theme "Global challenges of the future - what role does (Swedish) development assistance have in 15 years?". Read more

 

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