Development aid to be more streamlined
The state-run Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) will reduce the number of countries where it focuses its aid efforts.
On Thursday the House of Representatives followed the Senate in voting in favour of reducing the list of priority nations from 17 to 12.
Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said this would be the second reduction in priority countries since 2003, when the number was lowered from 24 to the current 17.
Calmy-Rey supported the move to concentrate the government's development aid in fewer regions of the world and to limit the kind of assistance it provides.
The cabinet will now define which regions should be given preferential treatment as well as the type of aid programmes the SDC should focus on.
The government has asked parliament to approve a four-year budget of SFr4.5 billion ($4.45 billion) for the SDC and SFr800 million for the development cooperation projects of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.
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