Debate

So much of the Swedish development assistance is used in Sweden

Today, a new report is presented which shows that 19 percent of Swedish development assistance is used in Sweden, including for refugee reception. In the debate, there are many opinions about how development assistance is used here at home, but there has not previously been a clear mapping of it. We hope that our report contributes to an increased understanding of how state aid is organized, write Sonja Daltung and Jan Pettersson at the Expert Group for Aid Analysis (EBA).

A report from the Expert Group for Aid Analysis (EBA) presented today maps how much of Swedish state international aid was used in Sweden in 2013 and by whom. There is a general interest in knowing how Swedish development assistance is channeled and used, and to our knowledge there has been no corresponding compilation before. It is important to know how and by whom the resources are used, among other things to understand the structure of the part of the Swedish economy that is linked to development assistance.

Swedish development assistance in 2013 amounted to SEK 38,2 billion. The report estimates that just under SEK 7,2 billion (19 percent) of these had a direct use in Sweden - by 182 actors in civil society, the private and public sectors. These funds financed 3 full-time jobs in Sweden.

Good or bad?
A common question in the context of development assistance is whether the development assistance "arrives". From that perspective, it can be perceived as unexpected or even unreasonable that a significant part of Swedish development assistance is used in Sweden. But it is not possible to generally claim that it is bad that development aid is used in Sweden. This depends partly on whether the activities conducted are sensible in relation to the development assistance policy goals, and partly on whether the activities can be conducted in a better way by other actors or elsewhere. This is not studied in the report, but knowledge of where development aid is used is an important basis for being able to analyze such issues and for understanding how the Swedish economy is affected by development aid policy.

The report concludes that just under 500 million had their use in civil society (with around 750 full-time jobs) and almost 100 million in the private sector. However, the calculations do not include so-called return flows (recipients' procurement of goods and services from the donor country), which by definition mostly go to the private sector.

More than half to refugee reception
The absolute largest part of the development assistance funds used in Sweden was used in the public sector (6,3 billion). A large part of these funded costs for refugee reception. Just over 63 per cent of the development assistance funds used in Sweden in 2013 went to this and they financed, among other things, 2 full-time jobs in Sweden. Classifying refugee reception costs as assistance is in accordance with OECD / DAC regulations.

In the debate, there are voices both for and against this order. A prerequisite for an informed discussion and further analysis of the issue is to know what sums are involved. Deeper knowledge of the use of development assistance makes it easier to answer questions such as:

Do the existing structures for political reform facilitate or complicate? How much emphasis is placed on aid development being effective in relation to regional policy, national business policy or national prestige - for example when choosing where development aid-financed research is to be conducted? What are the effects for production and employment in Sweden? How does the choice of business location affect development assistance?

EBA's report in itself contributes to an increased understanding of how state aid is organized, but it is our hope that it can also form a basis for future analyzes of how effective Swedish aid is, among other things based on the above-mentioned issues.

Sonja Daltung, Chancellor of the EBA
Jan Pettersson, EBA Investigation Secretary

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

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