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CORRUPTION

Norway’s aid money still headed to ‘most corrupt’

Eleven of the world’s 12 most corrupt governments receive substantial aid from Norway, according to a cross-referencing of Norwegian aid recipients and a report from Transparency International.

Norway— given sixth place among the “least corrupt” nations — sends aid intended for specific projects straight into the bank accounts of some corrupt governments. The No. 1 and No. 3 most-corrupt countries, Burundi and Venezuela, both receive Norwegian aid according to Transparency’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

Of the 12 most corrupt nations, only second-placed Equatorial Guinea does not receive aid from Oslo.

“It really raises the question whether all aid actors are only paying lip service to transparency or are really committed to the principle which means opening up all of their books", Craig Fagan, senior policy director at Transparency International, said in a statement at the end of a Transparency conference in Korea on Thursday.

He said recipient countries too often avoid reporting the commercial flows from a donor’s development activity by instead declaring the funds investment loans or export-import credits.

It’s the second time in as many months that an international organization named Norway as part of a global problem. In November, Norwegian trade with the developed world was described as among the least fair by a California-based trade think tank.

Norwegian aid officials have previously taken action to stamp out abuses, cutting aid to dozens of countries where human rights violations were rampant or money had been swindled. In many cases, funds diverted to suppress populations were paid back.

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UN

Norway ranked world’s top nation for ‘human development’

The Human Development Report 2019 has placed Norway as the leading country in the world.

Norway ranked world’s top nation for 'human development'
Photo: tan4ikk/Depositphotos

The annual report takes into account factors including life expectancy at birth, expected years of schooling, mean total years of schooling, and gross national income per capita.

A product of these factors is used to calculate a country’s Human Development Index (HDI).

Norway’s overall score on the index was 0.954, moving it from number 5 on the 2018 index to number 1 in 2019.

The Nordic nation was also ranked first in 2017.

Switzerland, Ireland, Germany and Hong Kong (SAR) took the remaining top five places on the index. Nordic neighbours Sweden and Denmark were placed 8th and 11th respectively.

The report also finds that Norway’s HDI score has grown consistently in the long term, with a 0.41 percent increase in the index since 1990 and a 0.16 percent increase since 2010.

But the increase for the current decade was smaller as a function than that for the 2000s, when the HDI grew by 0.27 percent.

Norway was also found to have low inequality. The country retained its placed as the highest-ranked nation in the UN development index after each nation’s HDI score was adjusted for inequality.

“In Norway, Spain, France and Croatia… the bottom 40 percent (of earners) saw their incomes grow at a rate similar to that of the average income,” the report notes.

However, in Norway and France, “the top 1 percent of incomes grew more than the average, meaning that the income share of the groups in between was squeezed,” it added.

The country ranked top of the index for gender development, meanwhile, despite a notable difference in estimated gross national income per capita for men and women.

The HDI for Norway, classified by gender, was 0.946 for women and 0.955 for men.

“While Norway is pleased to top the list, the countries that are at the top must do more to help those at the bottom,” Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein told news agency NTB.

“For the first time in world history, we have a real opportunity to eradicate all extreme poverty in the world. But after a long period of progress, we now see that the arrows are pointing downwards for many of the poorest countries. Right now. we are not on track to achieve the sustainability goals by 2030. The clock is ticking,” the minister added.

Those views appear to be supported by the overall conclusions of the report, which state that “two children born in 2000 in countries with different levels of human development will have vastly different prospects for adult life”.

“The wave of demonstrations sweeping across countries is a clear sign that, for all our progress, something in our globalized society is not working,” United Nations Development Programme administrator Achim Steiner said via the UNDP website.

READ ALSO: How Norway's schools compare to other countries in global ranking

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