Scandinavia’s choices of partner countries in Africa: Is the poverty criterion still dominant?

Anne Mette Kjær, Jan Pettersson, Elling Tjønneland

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This paper characterizes and compares Denmark’s, Norway’s and Sweden’s choice of partner countries in Africa over time with a view to identifying the motivations behind these choices. We find that Norway, Sweden, and Denmark have made very different choices during the last decades as regards number and composition of bilateral partners in Africa. Sweden has maintained quite a long list of diverse partners (now at 15), Norway somewhat fewer (now 11), whereas Denmark has decided to focus on a few countries (now 7). The geographical focus also differs with Denmark concentrating on fragile countries around the Sahel and the Horn, and Sweden and Norway being present in all parts of Africa. The motivations behind these choices differ, as Sweden has had more of a poverty and human rights focus, Norway a poverty and global public goods focus, and Denmark a poverty and migration focus. The findings point to the importance of addressing the dilemmas and trade-offs in balancing stability and fragility, as well as in balancing multilateral and bilateral aid allocations.
Original languageDanish
Title of host publicationDanish Foreign Policy Review 2023
Number of pages29
Place of publicationKøbenhavn
PublisherDIIS - Danish Institute for International Studies
Publication dateJun 2023
ISBN (Print)978-87-7236-114-7.
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-7236-115-4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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