Your partner country 'must be in the driver's seat'

Switzerland, a rich but tiny country, cannot compete with top donors in terms of funds, but its development strategy has found a niche firmly tied to its own history: promoting good governance around the world.

“Governance is … an issue where you don’t make a difference with huge amounts of money. You make a difference with huge amounts of money when it’s about infrastructure,” Martin Dahinden, head of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, told Devex Editor Rolf Rosenkranz in a video interview at the European Development Days in Brussels.

He stressed that governance, “something that is very dear to us, given our history and our political system,” is absolutely essential to development.

“Governance, empowering people, in our view, is a main driver for development. Putting people in the center, empowering them [and] using a rights-based approach can assure quality of public services,” Dahinden said.

However, warned the SDC director-general, at the same time it’s a very touchy issue when you are telling another government how to run its own affairs.

“It’s … difficult … because to some extent you interfere. You need to be cautious and aware that the partner country needs to be in the center, in the driver’s seat,” he said.

Check out the full video by watching the video above. Devex was at the European Development Days 2013. Check out our coverage of Europe’s leading global development event of the year.

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    Carlos Santamaria

    As associate editor for breaking news, Carlos Santamaria supervises Devex's Manila-based news team and the creation of our daily newsletter. Carlos joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.

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