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Switzerland steps up its commitment to the world's poorest countries

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Switzerland is to continue its support for the poorest developing countries as part of its International Cooperation. The Federal Council decided on 30 April 2014 to allocate an additional CHF 1.32 billion between the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) and the African Development Fund (ADF). Part of these funds will be used for debt reduction measures.

Switzerland has partnered with the IDA and the ADF for many years now. The funds, managed by the World Bank and the African Development Bank respectively, are used for granting concessional loans to low-income countries having limited capital-market access. They also provide technical assistance and grants for development projects. The funds are replenished by member states every three years.

The Federal Council has decided to set aside some CHF 753 million under the 17th replenishment of the IDA. As part of the 13th replenishment of the ADF, it has approved payments of around CHF 208 million in total. This represents an increase in Switzerland's share of the burden from 2.1% to 2.3% for the IDA and from 2.5% to 3% for the ADF.

Switzerland's commitment has grown as a result of Parliament's decision in 2012 to raise official development assistance (ODA) to 0.5% of gross national income. The Federal Council's decision thus acknowledges the positive results produced by both funds and the strategic alignment with Swiss development priorities, as set out in the 2013-2016 Message on International Cooperation.

Over the coming years, the IDA intends to concentrate on fostering socially responsible economic growth, measures to counteract climate change and its impact, support in fragile states, and more attention on gender issues. The ADF's resources are deployed in the areas of infrastructure, private sector development, food security, governance matters and increasingly also in fragile situations.

Meanwhile, Switzerland continues to support the international Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). This initiative seeks to cancel the poorest countries' debts against the IDA, the ADF and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where these countries can demonstrate implementation of specific reforms. The resulting shortfalls in their loan repayments are covered by donor states such as Switzerland. In its decision, the Federal Council has approved MDRI contributions to the IDA and the ADF for up to around CHF 361 million.

The work done by multilateral development funds is regarded as a crucial and effective component of International Cooperation. Thanks to the IDA, for example, almost 600 million children were vaccinated in the years between 2003 and 2013. Some 195 million women were given antenatal care, and 117 million people received access to a wide range of other healthcare services. Between 2002 and 2013, IDA resources were used to give 123 million people access to drinking water, 3.5 million teachers were trained or hired, and 116,000 km of roads were built or renovated.

Address for enquiries:
Daniel Birchmeier,
Head of Multilateral Cooperation SECO, Tel. 058 464 08 19

Olivier Bürki,
Head of the Department of Global Institutions SDC,

Tel. 058 462 86 09