The SDC's development cooperation with the South helps to reduce poverty in 21 countries and regions across Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. It supports the efforts of these countries to address the development issues and global challenges they face. Its main priority is to help disadvantaged population groups gain access to basic services (healthcare and education), infrastructure (water), employment and income generation opportunities, and the benefits of sustainable growth.
Over half of these 21 priority countries and regions are deemed ‘fragile’ or are affected by conflict: state institutions are weak or unstable and the poor are subject to violence and arbitrary politics. Despite these difficult circumstances, the SDC is stepping up its involvement in these regions in an attempt to improve the plight of those affected. Development cooperation with the South is increasingly geared towards crisis and conflict transformation to enable sustainable development in these regions. By adopting a regional approach, it can provide a more flexible response to fragility.
In conjunction with its partners on the ground, Switzerland's development cooperation with the South supports more than 500 projects and programmes in the areas of health and education/training, job and income creation, local economic development, state reform and administrative reforms. It helps to improve the prospects of young people and women in particular, primarily by developing vocational skills and raising incomes. In line with a decision by the Swiss Parliament, it is addressing the strategic link between migration and development by gearing its activities even more towards migrants' countries of origin and tackling the causes that drive people to leave their home countries.