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Swedish Development Cooperation and Ownership of African Regional Organizations

Journal article
Authors Fredrik Söderbaum
Published in Forum for Development Studies
Volume 44
Issue 3
Pages 357-375
ISSN 0803-9410
Publication year 2017
Published at School of Global Studies
Pages 357-375
Language en
Keywords Africa, aid, development cooperation, ownership, regional cooperation, regional integration, regional organizations, regionalism, Sweden
Subject categories Globalization Studies


This article deals with the ownership of African regional organizations (ROs) in the context of an overreliance on foreign funding. It focuses specifically on whether and how Swedish development cooperation contributes to the ownership of ROs on the continent. Sweden constitutes a particularly pertinent case study for several reasons: it is one of the world’s largest and most important donors to African ROs, it places great emphasis on the ownership principle and it is often considered to be a role model for effective development cooperation. The empirical material consists of an in-depth study of Swedish regional development cooperation with sub-Saharan Africa (2010–2015), policy reports and reviews, aid evaluations and a range of semi-structured interviews with Swedish and African aid officials. This study reveals a series of challenges regarding what is to be owned and by whom, and Sweden’s stress on building the capacity of the secretariats of ROs as the main way of strengthening ownership. © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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