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Sweden—Commitment to Development Index

The Commitment to Development Index ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on policies that affect people living in poorer nations. This is the country report for Sweden. For results of all countries, visit the main CDI page.

Overall

Sweden ranks first on the Commitment to Development Index. It performs above average on all components except security, with outstanding positions on aid, migration, and environment. Sweden rose one place from the 2017 CDI publication, mainly due to improvement on the migration component.
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Aid

Sweden scores well in the aid component for both quantity and quality. In 2017, Sweden provided 1.01 percent of its GNI for development assistance—the highest of any CDI country and well above the international commitment of 0.7 percent GNI. Sweden spends 71 percent of its aid bilaterally and 29 percent multilaterally. Its bilateral aid is particularly good at transparency and learning. Sweden’s multilateral aid quality score is helped by relatively large contributions to the International Development Association (IDA), which scores well among multilateral institutions.
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Finance

Sweden ranks 11th on the finance component. It scores well with regard to its institutional commitments, especially due to its compliance with the OECD anti-bribery convention. Sweden is also a member of all the institutional frameworks that are part of this indicator. On the financial secrecy indicator, Sweden receives a relatively high score. It is rewarded for participating in international transparency commitments and international judicial cooperation. It also requires country-by-country reporting from its extractive industries. Sweden could improve further on this indicator by requiring companies to make beneficial ownership details publicly available online and by meeting the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering. Sweden also has room for improvement in its international investment agreements. It could better account for the public policy goals of its investment partners and include a stronger sustainable development approach.
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Technology

Sweden’s performance in the technology component is slightly above average. Its 13th place ranking is mainly due to relatively high government support for research and development (R&D). In 2017 the Swedish government provided 0.77 percent of its GDP to R&D (with defence R&D discounted) and had relatively high incentives for business R&D. On the other hand, Sweden does not play a leading role in the diffusion of technology to developing countries; its score on intellectual property rights is relatively low. It could do more to facilitate knowledge sharing, especially by putting in place less strict database protection rights and anti-circumvention rules.
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Environment

Sweden is the second-best performer on this year’s environment component (behind the Slovak Republic). It is highly rewarded for having the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of all CDI countries, and for having achieved the most impressive reductions in emissions over a 10-year period by a substantial margin. It also produced no fossil fuels. But despite surpassing other CDI countries considerably on these matters, Sweden could improve on the environment component even more by reporting on all the important biodiversity treaties, reducing large subsidies to its fishing industry, and raising gasoline taxes.
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Trade

Sweden performs well on the trade component. This year’s fifth place ranking is the result of strong performance on trade logistics, particularly Sweden’s good trade infrastructure, and its low income weighted tariffs (as a member of the EU Customs Union). It also has relatively low EU agricultural subsidies. Set against this, Sweden has a moderate amount of restrictions on trade in services, which it could improve.
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Security

Sweden ranks 20th on security, mainly due to its relatively low contributions to international peacekeeping and sea lanes protection. It also exports a relatively large number of arms to poor and undemocratic countries. Sweden should lower its arms exports and share more of the costs of international peacekeeping to improve its security score.
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Migration

Sweden has the most development-friendly migration policies of all CDI countries. It has the best integration policies and the second largest share of refugees (in relative terms) after Germany. These positions reflect Sweden’s general openness toward migrants, with good scores across most indicators. It is committed to international migration, as reflected in the high score for the inflow of migrants, taking into account the GDP of the country of origin. However, Sweden approves only 35 percent of asylum applications, which is below the average for CDI countries and its lowest acceptance rate in the past five years. Sweden could still improve its migration policies by ratifying the Migration for Employment Convention.
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