South Africa

Our work in South Africa

Published: 17 June 2009 Updated: 5 September 2014

Sweden's development cooperation with South Africa was during the last strategy period carried out in the form of selective cooperation in areas of mutual interest for Sweden and South Africa. Poverty reduction and democracy issues have been priority objectives, as well as HIV and AIDS.

Bilateral cooperation was phased out in 2013

 December 2013 was the last month to finance activities and no new country-specific cooperation strategy for South Africa will be developed. From a Swedish point of view, there is a strong desire to continue deepening and broadening the close relations between Sweden and South Africa.

A long history of cooperation

Sweden’s support to South Africa began in the 1960s in the form of humanitarian development aid that was delivered to the African National Congress (ANC) and other organizations pursuing the battle against apartheid. Following the abolition of apartheid and the ANC’s victory in the 1994 elections, humanitarian development aid was supplemented with more regular development cooperation activities.

Traditional development cooperation with South Africa was during the last strategy period 2009-2013 focused on a broader cooperation built on co-financed partnerships within areas such as trade and investment, institutional and civil cooperation, in a model called partner driven cooperation.

Partner driven cooperation focused on areas of mutual interest to Sweden and South Africa. The cooperations were co-financed and based on shared experience and knowledge. The purpose was to create conditions for the development of long-term sustainable partnerships within various areas, involving partners such as schools, companies, voluntary organizations and churches, in the process.

The overall objectives were to:

  • Reduce poverty, inequality and vulnerability
  • Strengthen democracy and promote respect for human rights
  • Fight the HIV/Aids epidemic.

Cooperation across several areas

Cooperation across municipalities, regions and counties is an effective method for transferring knowledge and building capacity. There has been several examples of cooperation between municipalities and regions in the two countries. One example is the cooperation between Gävle in Sweden and Buffalo City in South Africa, which focused on issues such as tourism, management development and emergency preparation.

Sida has also supported cooperation between institutions. For example, Sweden’s National Police Board cooperated with the police authority in South Africa, as well as cooperation between the two countries’ tax authorities.

HIV/Aids has hit South Africa hard.

Reducing the spread of HIV/Aids has been an important part of Sweden’s support in southern Africa. Sida has supported efforts to prevent and alleviate the consequences of the epidemic, through contributions to the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), a leading HIV/Aids organization in South Africa. The TAC works actively to give poor people access to advice and anti-retroviral medicine.

IF Metall Sida and the International Council of Swedish Industry have been working within the frameworks of the Swedish Workplace HIV/Aids Programme (SWHAP) to increase awareness of how to handle the illness in the workplace.

Sida has cooperated with the Swedish Trade Council, South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry and Swedish companies in South Africa to promote economic development and combat unemployment. This cooperation included trainee programmes, management training, trade programmes and schools of industry. The programme aimed particularly at those groups that faced discrimination during apartheid.

Trade unions, churches and other organizations are of great importance in a democracy. Sida’s supported the work being done by Swedish and South African non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for democracy and human rights continues. This support has been financed through a grant for NGOs.

Page owner: The Communication Department

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