One of the major points on the so called Paris Agenda on aid effectiveness was the negative effects of aid dispersion – the fact there are too many donors funding too many activities in too many recipient countries. Sweden has undertaken to comply with this agenda. In addition, in 2007 it launched an ambitious policy of concentrating its bilateral aid in certain groups of partner countries.
This report revisits the arguments for why aid dispersion should be reduced and was presented during the seminar Blir det bättre om man koncentrerar sig?
- The arguments for aid dispersion are still vaild.
- If examining larger transfers or leave out aid through NGOs the concentration policy apparently has had some effect. Still, it should be a cause for concern that after 2009 dispersion has increased again.
- Excessive spread can in principle be reduced in two ways, through unilateral measures like the Swedish concentration policy or through joint action with other donors.
- Selectivity on both income and policy/institutions should be more consistently applied as part of an effort to revive the concentration policy.
- Giving more through multilateral institutions and a renewed effort to decrease bilateral aid dispersion, is likely to be the best way forward.
Rune Jansen Hagen, Professor, University of Bergen