Sweden edged out Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway to claim the top spot in the 2009 Commitment to Development Index (CDI), an annual ranking compiled by the Center for Global Development (CGD), a Washington, DC-based think tank.
“Sweden won this year thanks to an uptick in the average size of its foreign aid projects — the CDI favors fewer, larger projects for efficiency — and an increase in asylum applications accepted from people from poor countries, from 24,000 to 36,000 per year,” said CGD research fellow David Roodman in a statement.
Last year, Sweden claimed the number two spot in the ranking, which assesses policies in wealthy countries designed to help build prosperity in the developing world.
The index compares 22 of the world’s richest countries based on their dedication to policies that benefit poor nations, adjusting for size to compare how well the wealthy are living up to their potential to help.
In an effort to highlight links between rich and poor nations other than just foreign aid, the CDI also examines six other policy areas, including trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology.
Sweden scored 7.0 overall, slightly ahead of Denmark’s 6.7 and the 6.6 score earned by both Norway and the Netherlands.
According to the index, Sweden achieved the highest score for foreign aid for policies not requiring recipients to spend aid only on Swedish goods and services and for providing a high volume of net aid as a share of its economy.
Migration policies also earned Sweden second best marks of the countries included in the CDI, primarily due to accepting a large number of refugees relative to the country’s size and for not charging tuition to foreign students.
Sweden also placed in the top half of ranked countries in the categories of trade and environment, but performed less well when it came to investment, security, and technology, in part because of the country’s high level of arms exports to poor and relatively undemocratic governments, and for its unwillingness to share technological advances with poor countries.