Swedish Foreign Aid Director Dismissed

During an early meeting on Thursday the government decided to fire the director-general of Sweden’s highly criticised bilateral aid organisation SIDA. In a press release the government announced that Anders Nordström, who has been Sida’s director general since 2008, will leave the agency immediately and that there will be significant changes in the organisation.

This is the latest development in the conflict between the centre-right coalition government and the aid agency. The relationship between SIDA’s board and the Minister for Development Assistance, Gunilla Carlsson, has been strained for quite some time and several of the agency’s officials have openly complained that the minister’s requirements are unreasonable and impossible to implement.

Carlsson has repeatedly slammed the SIDA for being inefficient and for failing to make sure that the aid money is spent where it is needed.

In a newly published debate article on Swedish website Newsmill Carlsson mentions the example of Sida’s operations in Zambia where it has been proven that Swedish aid, meant to support the health sector in the country, has instead been used to fund corruption. Carlsson writes that a significant amount of money was embezzled during several years without being properly investigated by the agency.

In addition, despite Sweden being one of the most generous donors, giving slightly more than one percent of GDP as aid to developing countries, the agency is accused of being wasteful and for repeatedly exceeding their budget.

Anders Nordström told Swedish Radio news, shortly after the announcement, that he didn’t feel he had done anything wrong during his time as general director and that the agency had taken many steps to improve efficiency and control of the funds.

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, previously the director general for Save the Children International will take Nordström’s place until a permanent director-general will be appointed.