Reforming development assistance to improve results

The Government intends to pursue an effective development policy that yields results. In 2013, 116 countries received aid from Norway. In order to achieve better results, the Government is proposing to concentrate its efforts on 84 countries.

The Government intends to pursue an effective development policy that yields results. In 2013, 116 countries received aid from Norway. In order to achieve better results, the Government is proposing to concentrate its efforts on 84 countries.  

The Government has identified 12 focus countries where efforts will be particularly strengthened. The aim is to simplify and improve the effectiveness of Norwegian development assistance.  

‘Our overriding aim is to ensure that Norwegian development assistance works and produces concrete results. That is why we are seeking to further concentrate our efforts. Monitoring and measuring results requires a lot of resources. By targeting fewer countries, we can make Norwegian assistance more effective and thereby ensure that the aid we provide reaches more of those in need,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende.      

In its review of Norwegian development cooperation, the OECD identified three areas where improvements should be made: increasing the concentration of aid, placing greater focus on results, and giving more emphasis to the role of private sector activities and trade. The Government is following up all three recommendations.   

Aid to some upper middle income countries, and to certain other countries where Norway’s overall engagement is less extensive, will gradually be phased out. Existing agreements will be honoured. The number of partner countries will therefore be gradually reduced to 84, as current agreements come to an end. 

Two categories of focus countries

The Government has identified 12 focus countries, which have been divided into two categories. The first group includes fragile countries, where stabilisation and peacebuilding are paramount: Afghanistan, Haiti, Mali, Palestine, Somalia and South Sudan.  

‘This category includes those countries where the challenges are greatest and where most remains to be done to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. There is a high risk of setbacks, but, that said, it is in these countries that the costs and the risks of not getting involved are greatest,’ Mr Brende said.  

The other group of focus countries includes countries undergoing a process of development, where the emphasis is on the private sector, and resource and revenue management. Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal and Tanzania are in this group. 

‘We will give priority to selected focus countries where we have in-depth knowledge of the country and where Norway is in a good position to contribute to concrete results. We are seeking to achieve synergies by encouraging Norwegian actors to concentrate their efforts on the same countries. We are also working to increase the efficiency of aid management and improve the way we measure and communicate results,’ Mr Brende said. 

Revising our agreement templates and reducing the number of agreements will enable us to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Norwegian development assistance. In addition, more systematic analyses and assessments of the situation in each individual country are to be carried out. 

‘Norway supports efforts to promote long-term poverty reduction, democracy and human rights. Our aid efforts must be designed to support changes that help partner countries to take care of their populations themselves and fulfil their international obligations, for example those relating to climate change and the environment. Aid should not seek to compensate for poor governance by a country’s own authorities. Aid, sound trade policies, favourable conditions for investment and job creation are all important to ensure development in the poorest countries,’ Mr Brende said.