Press Release

Sweden Claims Top Spot in Global Development Index

September 18, 2018

Commitment to Development Index Ranks World’s Richest Countries on How Well Their Domestic Policies Improve Lives in the Developing World

Holly Shulman
Center for Global Development

+1 (202) 416-4040

WASHINGTON – Today, the Center for Global Development announced that Sweden claimed the #1 spot in the Commitment to Development Index, which ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries by how well their policies help improve lives in the developing world.

The Commitment to Development Index (CDI) is released annually by the Center for Global Development. It is a quantitative, broad based analytical tool that measures contributions in seven policy areas: aid (both quantity as a share of national income, and quality), finance, technology, environment, trade, security, and migration. Within each component, countries are measured on how their domestic policies and actions support poor countries in their efforts to build prosperity, good governance, and security.

“Good development policy is about much more than foreign aid,” said Masood Ahmed, the president of the Center for Global Development. “While aid is important, policymakers in rich countries need to assess all the ways their choices, from refugee policies to intellectual property rights, help or hinder developing countries.”

In this year’s Index, Sweden edged out Denmark (which led the index last year). Sweden’s top performance was driven by excellent scores on foreign aid, environment, trade, and migration. It also led all 27 countries in the migration ranking, with a high share of refugees and strong policies to help integrate migrants.

You can view the full 2018 rankings at

 “Domestic policies can have a major impact on other nations around the world – both intended and not,” said Ian Mitchell, a senior fellow and the report’s author. “Sweden sets a great example on its approach to environment and has migration policies that benefit migrants, Sweden, and developing nations alike, but Sweden’s work isn’t finished. As new global challenges emerge, we hope Sweden will continue to put in place domestic policies that improve outcomes in the developing world.”

Other findings from this year’s results include:

  • For the first time a G-7 country, Germany, clinched a place in the top three, overtaking France and just behind the Nordic powerhouses Sweden and Denmark.

  • The U.S. ranked 23rd in this year’s Index, while European countries dominate the top spots.

  • Australia surged up 4 spots in this year’s Index.

  • The Netherlands takes the top spot in the trade rankings, and Japan rises 10 slots.

Learn more about the rankings and how countries performed at


About the Methodology: The CDI is transparent about its method and data, with full details available at All the data and calculations are published with full sources in a series of spreadsheets. The CDI uses an updated methodology each year, making improvements in the way we measure how policy impacts development. Year on year changes reported above can reflect new data, or an improved method, or both.