Sweden Dismisses Sida Chief, Orders Agency Revamp

    Anders Nordstrom, outgoing director-general of the Swedish International Development Agency. Photo by: Chris Black / WHO

    The Swedish government has decided that Anders Nordstrom, director-general of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, had to go. The government also announced a major revamp of the aid agency, which for the past years came under fire for being wasteful and inefficient, The Swedish Fire reports.

    “In order to ensure that Sida will overcome its high-profile business, economic and organizational shortcomings, the government has today decided on measures to ensure an efficient and effective authority,” Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson said in a statement.

    A day before the May 27 announcement, Swedish news site Newsmill published an article by Carlsson, which slammed management at Sida. In that piece, Carlsson said the revelation that corruption and embezzlement plagued Swedish aid funding for the Zambian health sector “was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

    The minister frequently criticized Sida for its failure to ensure that aid is spent efficiently. The relationship between Sida’s board and Carlsson “has been strained for quite some time,” according to The Swedish Fire.

    As reported by Devex in February, the ministry and Sida were at odds over plans by the latter to reduce the number of its Afghanistan and Iraq staff in order to reduce its budget deficit. Carlsson said the government was exploring ways to maintain the staff level in the two countries.

    The government has appointed Save the Children’s Charlotte Petri Gornitzka as substitute director-general starting June 1, while Bo Netz will be the deputy director-general. There will be an external recruitment process to appoint the new Sida chief, according to a press release of the agency.

    “I think it is sad not being able to finish the important work we have started. I have enjoyed my time at Sida and I feel that we have achieved important results in our work. However, it is clear that the government find that we have not reached far enough,” Nordstrom said in a statement.

    Nordstrom, whose last day of service at Sida will be May 31, will move to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    About the author

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      Ma. Rizza Leonzon

      As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.