Debate

Concluding remarks: Wastefulness does not lift anyone out of poverty

In a reply to my article (FUF 26/2) about the many shortcomings of development assistance, SSU's chairman Pavlos Cavelier Bizas writes that Swedish development assistance is needed more than ever and that the 1% target must be defended. A goal that is almost to be regarded as a holy cow in Swedish political debate. Leaving this principle that the development assistance budget should be designed as a predetermined share of the state budget unchallenged is at best wasteful and at worst directly counterproductive to achieving the goals the development assistance is intended to meet, say Andreas Celan and John Manders from the Moderate Youth Association.

Sweden is one of the world's largest donors per gross national income (GNI) and the idea of ​​Sweden as a model for development assistance is unfortunately undeserved. If the purpose of the aid is to help people in need, it is to begin with, strange that you measure the role model status in the amount you give instead of measuring the effect that the aid has. Reducing the development aid budget and being humanitarian is not the opposite - rather a precondition for the money being spent where it is most useful. It is neither productive nor fair that aid goes to undermine democratic institutions and make poor countries dependent on the rich.

Further claims Cavelier Bizas wrong that it is Swedish development assistance that lifts people out of poverty. Slightly simplified, it can be said that there are a few decisive factors that make a society successful. One is stable democratic institutions and the other is free trade. As people's confidence in the basic functions of society increases, this in turn provides a predictable and democratic framework within which capitalist institutions can flourish, lifting people out of poverty. If too much of a state's revenue consists of aid, the incentives to develop these institutions decrease and democracy weakens as a result. It is only through self-help that poverty can be fought.

That a "small part" of the aid ends up in the wrong hands, SSU still seems to be able to live with. In fact, this is about millions of Swedish tax dollars that could be used for something else. But it is unfortunately this naive attitude that has allowed the million-dollar roll to continue without any real evaluation of where the money has gone somewhere. In the last 20 years, the development aid budget has tripled, without much political opposition. In 2020, the development assistance budget amounted to just over SEK 52 billion. This is almost twice as much as the police receive every year, despite the fact that the police have major problems in fulfilling their mission in many parts of Swedish society. Not least in the war against gang crime.

Consensus has no intrinsic value if the result is substandard. Sweden must rethink its development assistance. To begin with, one should move to goal-based assistance instead of today's quantity-based assistance. This means deviating from the scheme where you first decide how much money to spend - and then what to do with it. You start at the wrong end. Every development assistance project Sweden finances must be carefully evaluated and followed up, not only in financial reporting, but also what real effects the development assistance has on society. Not a penny should go to finance terrorist regimes or rogue states.

Aid in itself is not the problem - but rather aid that does not fulfill its purpose. Things like emergency crisis aid and international climate investments are goals that should be rewarded over development aid. The Moderates have consistently maintained this attitude, which is often criticized by S. The starting point for development aid policy must be that the improvements that take place in the world thanks to development assistance will also in the long run result in Sweden's development assistance budget being reduced.

It is noticeable that SSU's starting point in development aid policy is to compete for who can spread the most money for the most projects. For MUF, this will never be the answer - we choose instead to focus on efficiency and the greatest possible benefit for each tax krona invested. It is time to put an end to Sweden's outdated development aid policy. It is unfair to both taxpayers and aid recipients. Scrap the one percent target.

The article is a replica of Swedish aid is needed more than ever

Original articles: Reduce the development assistance budget and follow up on taxpayers' money

This is a debate article. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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