Nordic countries most committed to development, says think-tank

6 Sep 17

Denmark ranks top of the 27 richest countries committed to helping developing nations, followed by Sweden and Finland, according to a think-tank’s latest annual development index.  

Center for Global Development’s Commitment to Development Index report, released this morning, ranked countries based on the impact of foreign aid and policies on trade, finance, migration, the environment and technology.

 “In our integrated world, decisions made by rich countries about their own policies and behaviour have repercussions for people in the developing nations,” author Ian Mitchell from Center for Global Development said in the report.

While Nordic countries ranked consistently high across the various components of the CDI, the US was ranked 23rd, down three places from last year, as a result of its low scores on finance, environment and aid, despite its high scores in trade and security. 

Denmark’s top overall ranking was a combination of its “generosity”, providing 0.75% of its national income, and the effectiveness of its aid, the report said.

“Although only a handful of countries meet the internationally accepted target of spending 0.7% of gross national income on aid, foreign assistance remains an important source of finance for some of the poorest countries,” said Mitchell.

Norway and Luxembourg give 1.11% and 1% respectively, while South Korea and the Slovak Republic are ranked at the bottom for aid, providing 0.14% and 0.12%.

The US scored poorly on finance, environment and aid, with a contribution of 0.18% of its national income. The report said the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement may further lower the US score in future years.

Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland outscored the US, despite their income per head being less than half that in the US.

Following Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision to open German borders to refugees, and the countries willingness to take in refugees, Germany jumped to fifth place, 10 places from last year, due to its policies on migration.

The report stressed the importance of successful investment and financing for developing countries. Finland was ranked first on finance as a result of its sustainable support to investment and transparency, followed Denmark, Norway and Italy in the next three places.

Because of its poor score on the Financial Secrecy Index, Switzerland was ranked last on finance, while the Netherlands, the UK and US were penalised for enabling secrecy jurisdiction within their sphere of influence.

South Korea ranked last in the overall index as a result of its poor aid, environment and security scores, but was in first place for its technology.

The 2017 rankings showed an overall improvement in the performance in the environmental category of almost all countries, with Sweden at the forefront with its greenhouse gas emissions the lowest and the biggest annual cut in emissions in the last year.

 “Rich countries are most responsible for man-made climate change, but poor countries will suffer the most,” the report said.

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