Development cooperation with the South: fighting poverty and ensuring no one is left behind

Vegetable vendor in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, the SDC commits itself to improve living conditions of the poorest in facilitating them access to the market. © SDC

Through its development cooperation with the South, the SDC contributes to reducing poverty in 21 priority countries and four priority regions across Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. It supports these countries and regions in addressing the obstacles to their development and their global challenges. Following an analysis of needs, benefits and Swiss interests, bilateral development cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean is in the process of being gradually discontinued, with full effect in 2024.

Over half of these 21 priority countries and regions are considered fragile or are affected by conflict; state institutions are weak or unstable and the population is repeatedly subjected to violence and arbitrary politics. In accordance with the priorities of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDC is increasing its developmental involvement in these countries and regions in order to substantially improve the plight of affected populations. Particular emphasis is placed on crisis and conflict transformation, on democratic governance, and on combating corruption. 

In conjunction with its partners and developmental actors on the ground, the SDC’s development cooperation supports over 500 programmes in the areas of democratic governance and social integration, health and education, the creation of jobs and sources of income, local economic development, and state and administrative reforms aimed at reinforcing the rule of law. It also supports private and public actors in assuming responsibility for sustainable development, and improves the prospects of young people and women in particular by promoting their social, political and economic integration.  

The bilateral development cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean is being gradually discontinued, with full effect in 2024.  This follows an analysis of the needs in comparison to other regions of the world, of Swiss interests and of the benefits of this international cooperation. In the final phase of the programmes, particular attention will be paid to ensuring the sustainability of the achieved goals. 

In accordance with a decision by the Swiss Parliament, development cooperation will continue to address the strategic link between migration and development by intensifying its activities in migrants’ countries of origin and tackling the factors that cause people to leave their home countries.