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Swiss development aid falls short of target

Women take part in an SDC project to provide drinking water to a Peruvian village

(Keystone Archive)

Swiss development aid is still a long way off from the government's long-term target of 0.4 per cent of the country's gross national product (GNP).

On Monday, two government agencies - the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) - reported that official development assistance (ODA) had reached SFr1.531 billion ($978 million) in 2001.

The report reveals that in comparison to figures released for 2000, ODA rose only slightly last year and accounted for 0.34 per cent of GNP, the same as the year before.

The government has set a goal for ODA to reach 0.4 per cent of GNP by 2010.

"What the figures indicate is that there is still a long way to go before the often-stated federal government goal of 0.4 per cent of GNP is reached," the agencies said in their annual report.

ODA comprises all money from the Swiss Confederation, the cantons and municipalities destined for developing countries.

Multilateral projects

In 2001, the SDC contributed SFr865 million to bilateral and multilateral projects. Some 41 per cent of bilateral aid went to Africa, 38 per cent to Asia and 21 per cent to Central and Latin America. Mozambique, Tanzania, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bolivia were among the main recipients.

Seco reported positive results in its summary of the ten-year history of the Swiss debt relief programme. Seco - which directs the programme - said a total of SFr119.5 million had been committed to projects aimed at encouraging initiative and private investment in the poorest countries and promoting their integration into the world economy.

Encouraging results were also reported in the former Yugoslavia, where the Swiss government agencies were able to start medium- and long-term projects to support political, economic and social change.

In eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union as a whole, SDC assistance rose to SFr99 million.

The SDC said it had spent SFr256 million last year in emergency aid, part of which went to help the victims of last year's earthquake in Gujarat in the northern Indian state of Gujarat.

swissinfo with agencies


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