Swiss lead efforts to remove conditions on development aid

Switzerland wants development aid to be unconditional Keystone Archive

Switzerland has joined several nations in pushing forward a proposal to do away with the practice of attaching conditions to development aid. Under the plan, donor countries would no longer be able to dictate how aid money is spent.

This content was published on April 30, 2001 minutes

Switzerland is one of the few countries which does not lay down procurement conditions for recipients of development aid. Last week, the world's richest nations moved a step closer to adopting that principle at a high level meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris.

The OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) agreed to a resolution, which if approved, would no longer compel the world's 48 least developed countries from having to use aid money to purchase goods and services from the donor country.

The DAC said the proposal would increase the effectiveness of aid by enabling poorer countries to get better value for money by putting contracts out to competitive tender.

The Swiss delegation to the talks described the proposal as a "concrete step towards making aid more effective and developing a better partnership between donor and recipient nations.

The committee admitted that implementing the proposal would be difficult, even if it was approved by all member states.

Total DAC development aid was $53.1 billion (SFr ) in 2000 with member states contributions averaging 0.22 per cent of gross national product.

Swiss Development aid amounted to 0.34 per cent of GNP, putting it well behind the Scandinavian countries, which contributed an average 0.74 per cent, but ahead of the United States, which contributed only 0.1 per cent on GNP.


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