Right now, the four Tidö parties are negotiating the major restructuring of Swedish aid policy, which will be presented later this autumn. But already now, Minister for Aid and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell (M) is talking about the direction.
– I see in front of me that Ukraine will be the largest recipient of Swedish aid for many years to come, says Johan Forssell.
“Trade for Aid”
In addition to increased focus on Ukraine and the surrounding area, the government also wants foreign trade to become an important part of aid. Swedish companies’ increasing foreign trade should contribute to lifting people out of poverty – and the aid should promote Swedish exports, the idea is.
– As a country, we must make better use of the tremendous competence and ability that exists in our world-leading Swedish companies. It can be both to deal with some problems, take the green transition of course, but also the fact that the needs in the host are huge, we have to find ways to mobilize private capital, there is not a possibility that this will be filled only that aid money , it does not work.
One objection is that business may not want to operate in the poorest countries where there are no markets and business opportunities, nor the legal certainty and institutions needed for business to flourish. How can these synergies be achieved in the poorest countries?
– It’s a very good question and it’s something we look at daily, because in many of the poorest countries there are major systemic problems, the most common of which is corruption, of course, says Johan Forssell.
“There must be flexibility”
There are international rules regarding what can be called aid in a state budget, rules that Sweden has supported as a member of the OECD’s development committee DAC. In short, the needs of the recipient country must be in focus – and not the donor country. Does the minister for development think that Sweden should pay less attention to the DAC rules?
– I think there should be flexibility because aid cannot operate in a universe of its own, it should be part of our foreign policy – and it is also about promoting Swedish interests, says the Minister of Aid.
Already in the Tidö Agreement it is stated that the aid must be conditional on states, in order to receive Swedish aid, having to cooperate on migration, for example accepting citizens who have been expelled from Sweden. Now the minister for aid says that it could also be relevant to withdraw aid to governments or other actors that support Russia’s warfare in Ukraine:
– Yes, we think it’s an interesting idea, we have work underway to look into it. It is clearly in our interest that we work with countries that do not undermine the global order and do not undermine our own security policy. And in that case it is not about humanitarian aid but about development aid, says Johan Forssell.
Guest: Johan Forssell (M)Minister for Aid and Foreign Trade
Host: Johar Bendjelloul
Comment: Helena Gissen, domestic political commentator at Ekot
Technician: Jakob Lalér
Producer: Maja Lagercrantz
Source: ICELAND NEWS