Europe Leads the Way in Development Index 2018
Inter Press Service - We just published the Commitment to Development Index (CDI) 2018, which ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on how well their policies help the more than five billion people living in poorer countries.
European countries dominate this year’s CDI, occupying the top 12 positions in the Index and with Sweden claiming the #1 spot. Here, we look at what these countries are doing particularly well in the past year to support the world’s poor, and where European leaders can still learn from others.
Each year, we look at policies beyond aid (only one of seven policy areas included in our analysis). We also measure policy efforts of rich countries in the areas of finance, technology, environment, trade, security and migration.
Within each of these seven components, countries are measured on how their domestic policies and actions support poor countries in their efforts to build prosperity, good governance, and security. We encourage you to explore the detailed results with our interactive tool below.
weden shows biggest commitment to development
Sweden makes it to the top this year, a first since 2011, relegating its neighbors Denmark and Finland to second and joint-third (with Germany) respectively. Sweden’s top performance was driven by excellent scores on foreign aid quantity and quality, environment, and trade.
It also led the migration ranking, with a high share of refugees and strong policies to help integrate migrants. By accepting a relatively large share of migrants from poorer countries, Sweden contributes to poverty reduction and income redistribution as working abroad enables migrants to earn higher incomes and gain valuable skills, while at the same time filling gaps in the local labor market.
Migrants contribute to Sweden’s booming economy, which has the highest share of employment among EU-countries (Eurostat data, 2004-2017). However, as the recent election demonstrates, while Sweden’s integration policies are among the best of all the countries evaluated by the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX), challenges remain and the country’s openness to migrants has resulted in a political backlash. It remains to be seen how this will affect the country’s migration policies moving forward.
Denmark comes second in this year’s CDI, performing very well on aid and leading on the security component. It demonstrates that even small countries can support peace and international security beyond their borders.
Denmark punches above its weight on the international stage by contributing disproportionately to international peacekeeping and sea lanes protection. Further, it fully supports the international security regime through ratification of all treaties assessed in the CDI and acts coherently by having very low arms exports to poor and undemocratic countries.
However, it could learn from its neighbor Sweden by putting in place a more open and welcoming migration policy. This also applies to Finland, which comes joint-third with performances above average on all components except migration.
Germany proves economic powers can also be development drivers
For the first time since the Center for Global Development started producing the CDI in 2003, a G7-country has made it to the top three. Germany comes joint third with Finland, demonstrating that even the largest economies in the world can put domestic policies in place that also benefit poorer countries.
The country’s top score was driven by its development-friendly policies on trade and migration. Germany ranked second in migration due to the acceptance of an exceptional number of migrants from poorer countries. It also came second on trade, with the most efficient trade logistics of all CDI countries and by being a leader on openness to services trade.
Still, it is penalized for its relatively large EU agricultural subsidies, and has room to learn from its G7-peers Canada (ranking 17th overall) and the United States (ranking 23rd overall) which each provide significantly smaller agricultural subsidies. Germany was held back from the top overall position by its moderate scores on aid and security policies.