Swedish development cooperation has made significant progress in increasing engagement with the private sector, but resource constraints prevent it from fully decentralizing its aid agency and implementing key systems, according to findings of a peer review.
The country’s aid agency, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, targets to increase its field-based staff to 40 percent by 2014, a move that was prompted by pressure from the Swedish government to increase aid effectiveness and ground monitoring. SIDA, however, needs to increase its efficiency at headquarters, according to a mid-term review by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. The recommendation was made to ensure SIDA has the funds to decentralize in light of estimates that posting home-based staff overseas is twice as costly. In insecure areas especially, the cost can be “as much as five times higher,” the report cites.
The review of one of the world’s top bilateral donors took place while it is undergoing reforms in its development assistance priorities, budget, staffing and systems. SIDA, in particular, had its staff cut by more than 20 percent but still has to deliver on government’s priorities.
“Overall, I found that Sweden has begun to implement the majority of recommendations [in DAC’s 2009 peer review], despite also going through a difficult period of change,” Karen Jorgensen, who led the DAC mid-term review in June 2011, said.