Foreign Aid Minister Gunilla Carlsson wants stricter rules and contracts for foreign aid that are based on concrete results. Photo: Scanpix

Development aid overhaul sparks uproar

Controversial Swedish aid makover
8:16 min

Sweden's international development assistance minister has announced a major overhaul of how the sizeable foreign aid budget is spent. Gunilla Carlsson wants clearer results and to draw up contracts with developing countries laying out the kind of things the money can be spent on.

The proposal has sparked uproar among several prominent aid organizations and even among government coalition party members.

They say that Sweden will end up dictating terms to developing countries and cause their governments to develop bad, short-term policies just to get the aid.

"It's right to ask for results but right now we're getting results from many investments in Africa for example," Magnus Walan, at the aid group Diakonia, told Radio Sweden.

"Joining forces with local authorities and NGOs to support local development and local priorities gets the best results."

Jesper Bengtsson, chief editor of the aid magazine OmVärlden, adds that the minister's stance is confusing and that she appear to apply double standards to private sector investments and what is seen as old fashioned aid to non-governmental organizations.

"But I agree with the minister that it's impossible to be against looking into the flow of aid to see what works."

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