2024 Evaluation of Aid Evaluation

The Long and Winding Road: Evaluation of Swedish Long-Term Development Cooperation with Liberia

Anouchka Baldin, Christoph Emminghaus, Kou Meapeh Gbaintor-Johnson, Tillman Hönig, Julian Klauke, John Pokoo, Johanna Schaefer-Kehnert, Simon Wallisch

The EBA-report The Long and Winding Road: Evaluation of Swedish Long-Term Development Cooperation with Liberia´’ evaluates the Swedish development cooperation with Liberia. It also summarises the most important lessons for future development cooperation.

The long-term effects of Swedish aid to Liberia have been uneven. Development cooperation has some extent contributed to peace and democratic transition, although limited progress has been made in addressing poverty and weak state capacity. Sweden’s efforts to strengthen state institutions have resulted in relatively limited state capacity with a weak carrying capacity. The report authors state that unrealistic assumptions about feasibility among donors and too little focus on sustainability, have limited the long-term effects of cooperation between Liberia and its donors, including Sweden. The authors state that although the needs are great within all sectors in Liberia, Sweden as well as other donors, should have put more emphasis on the education sector. Efforts in this area could contribute to greater overall impact and to more direct improvements for the Liberian people. The report authors also see potential goal conflicts in the investment portfolio, especially between environment and climate, and economic development.

Recommendations for future development collaborations:

  • A long-term commitment is absolutely crucial to achieving success, especially in areas such as the principles of the rule of law, gender equality, decentralization and land reform.
  • A more coordinated planning and implementation of clusters of related efforts can increase the effect of Swedish aid.
  • Sweden should critically analyse and strengthen specially selected reform processes in order to contribute to sustainable results, and at the same time take a position on whether and how further reforms can be effectively supported.
  • There is a need for more focused strategies with clearer guidance within specific themes, based on which the embassy can then design a coherent and effective portfolio.

The embassy needs to find ways to more quickly identify inefficient methods and projects, for faster learning and better results.