Sweden adopts new strategies for development cooperation

On December 17, 2020, Sweden adopted four new country strategies for its development cooperation with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, Kenya, and Mali, as well as regional development cooperation strategies for the Middle East and North Africa and for the crisis in Syria. All the new strategies are for 2021-2025, and the strategy for Syria was extended until 2023.

For the DRC, the strategy will considerably expand Swedish development cooperation with the DRC and aims to reduce poverty in the country, improve conditions for democratic development, and increase respect for human rights. Sweden will intensify its commitment to issues related to the environment, sustainable use of natural resources, and food security. The new strategy encompasses SEK 3.34 billion (US$378 million), of which SEK 3.3 billion (US$373 million) is earmarked for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and SEK 40 million (US$5 million) is for the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA).

For Liberia, the new strategy is expected to contribute to poverty reduction and peacebuilding, enhanced respect for human rights, improved conditions for democratic development, and stronger environmental protection. The new strategy encompasses SEK 1.85 billion (US$209 million), of which SEK 1.8 billion (US$204 million) is earmarked for Sida, and SEK 50 million (US$6 million) is for FBA.

For Kenya, the new strategy will contribute to poverty reduction, improved conditions for democratic development through free and fair elections, and higher respect for human rights. The strategy also addresses issues related to environmental protection and the sustainable use of natural resources, inclusive economic development, and gender equality, including access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The new strategy encompasses SEK 1.8 billion (US$198 million).

For Mali, the new strategy focuses on promoting democracy, human rights, the rule of law, conflict prevention and reconciliation, gender equality, environmental protection, and the sustainable use of natural resources. The new strategy encompasses SEK 2.0 billion (US$226 million), of which SEK 1.95 billion (US$221 million) is earmarked for Sida, and SEK 50 million (US$6 million) is for FBA. In particular, FBA activities will support equal participation in peace processes, strengthened capacity for conflict resolution, and security sector reform.

For the Middle East and North Africa region, the volume of Swedish support over the next five years has been increased to SEK 485 million (US$55 million) annually. Through the strategy, Sweden will continue to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and gender equality. Other areas of focus include environmental protection, sustainable regional economic integration and development, as well as promoting peaceful and inclusive societies. Out of the total amount, and to complement existing humanitarian support, SEK 80 million (US$9 million) annually are earmarked for Sweden’s bilateral development cooperation with Yemen, which will contribute to strengthening the peace process, in particular through the inclusion of women.

Sweden’s strategy for the crisis in Syria is focused on strengthening the resilience of the Syrian population, supporting democracy, improving gender equality, and increasing respect for human rights. To further address the ongoing crisis in Syria, Sweden has amended and extended its regional strategy for 2021-2023. Through the amendment, an additional average increase by 30% (SEK 110 million or US$12 million annually) has been allocated toward supporting civilians in Syria as well as Syrian refugees and host communities in neighboring countries. Accountability and reconciliation have been added as new focus areas for the strategy. Sweden is currently one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance in the Syrian crisis and the total strategy amount for 2016-2023 encompasses SEK 3.2 billion (US$363 million).

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)