Development policy and humanitarian efforts

Worldwide, one billion people are living in extreme poverty. We have a global responsibility to help people in need and contribute to long-term development and a more equitable world.
Photo: Ken Opprann/Norad

War and conflict have forced 65 million people to flee their homes. There is considerable unrest and suffering in many countries. Climate change, migration and infectious diseases are not contained by national borders.

The UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide the global framework for efforts to promote sustainable development, peace and a more equitable world. Under the 2030 Agenda, all countries, including Norway, have committed themselves to reaching goals and targets at the national level. In addition, we share an international commitment to help other countries achieve their goals. 

Aid is one of several tools for fighting poverty and promoting development. Norway gives priority to areas that are particularly important for development: education, health, and job creation through business development. Human rights, gender equality, climate and environment, and anti-corruption are cross-cutting issues in Norway’s development policy.

It is important to ensure good coordination between humanitarian relief work and more long-term development efforts. We will maximise our chances of success if we focus on prevention and on reaching the most vulnerable groups. In this way, we will also reduce the need for humanitarian aid in the future.

Development policy covers far more than just aid. Trade, investments, cooperation in the areas of technology development, research and culture, and strengthening the international legal order are equally important.


  • eradicate extreme poverty by 2030
  • ensure good governance and respect for human rights for all by 2030
  • contribute to rights-based implementation of the SDGs
  • ensure that people in need receive the necessary assistance and protection
  • contribute to sustainable development and help to make countries independent of aid

Support for private sector development

Over the next ten years, one billion young people will be looking for work. The private sector provides nine out of ten jobs in developing countries. This is why support for private sector development, for example through Norfund, is an important part of Norwegian development cooperation.


Fish for Development

Support for fisheries development in Kerala in southern India in 1952 marked the start of Norway’s international aid efforts. Today we are coordinating aid in this field more strategically through the Fish for Development programme. The overall objective of the programme is to reduce poverty through enhanced food security, sustainable management of resources and profitable business activities.


  • promoting closer coordination between humanitarian relief efforts and long-term development
  • using aid to trigger private investments and create jobs
  • strengthening humanitarian aid and long-term development in fragile areas
  • helping to increase the opportunities available to women and girls, and to promote their right to self-determination, and further their empowerment
  • focusing on girls’ education, education in situations of crisis and conflict, and on providing better quality education
  • playing a leading role in efforts to improve maternal health and reduce child mortality, and to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases
  • actively promoting more ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions globally
  • investing in renewable energy with a view to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions
  • providing around 1 % of GNI a year for development and humanitarian efforts.

Combating illicit financial flows and corruption

National income generation, taxation, and combating illicit financial flows and corruption are far more important for development than aid. Illicit financial flows from developing countries total USD 1.26 trillion a year. In comparison, global aid is around USD 120 billion.

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Maternal and child health

Norway recognises the importance of education for maternal and child health. Girls who go to school and gain an education tend to marry and have children later. Education for girls and women is therefore crucial for improving maternal health and reducing child mortality.

History and background

Ghana is a lower middle income country in West Africa, a region where Norway has a limited tradition for development cooperation. Economic and commercial cooperation takes center stage in our bilateral relations and this fits well with Ghana’s ambition of moving “beyond aid”. The development cooperation is concentrated on areas of common interest and expertise, in particular in the petroleum, marine and maritime sectors. Norway’s main development cooperation program with Ghana is the Oil for Development capacity building program, which aims at supporting sustainable resource, environmental and financial management of Ghana’s petroleum sector.

Norway and Ghana are active contributors to global efforts for peace and security, and have cooperated for decades in relevant UN bodies and in peacekeeping operations. Norway supports Ghanaian and ECOWAS institutions in Ghana that promote peace, stability and maritime security in Africa.

The embassy has an agreement with UNDP on support for Ghana's work on climate change adaptation (Disaster Risk Reduction).

Norway also supports The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre KAIPTC which is an ECOWAS "center of excellence" in peace and reconciliation. Training of civilian, police and military personnel and research are the main activities. The centre used to be part of the Norwegian Training for Peace program. Norway, Germany, Sweden and Denmark are among the largest donors to KAIPTC.

But Norwegian bilateral assistance to Ghana is dominated by the Oil for Development program.


Oil for Development

Since Ghana found commercially viable oil and gas deposits in 2007, the two countries have cooperated to avoid the pitfalls and develop the benefits of Ghana’s petroleum related economic activity. Norway and Ghana shares a vision of environmentally and financially sound exploitation of our natural resources, including oil and gas. The main tool for our cooperation is the Oil for Development program.

Under the Oil for Development program Norway shares relevant experiences from 50 year of oil and gas exploration and production with Ghana. Norwegian government institutions and experts offer strategic, technical and legal support to Ghana’s petroleum related ministries and institutions. The main aim is to build a strong Ghanaian capacity for resource management, environmental protection and revenue management, including with support to the legal and regulatory frameworks. Norway also shares relevant Norwegian experiences from civil society dialogue and mechanisms for coexistence between the petroleum sector, fisheries and local communities shared.

Around ten Norwegian, public institutions are involved. Important initiatives have been developing a new Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill and support to the regulator, The Petroleum Commission, as well as support for environmental impact assessments. A new program within revenue management are about to be implemented.

The Oil for Development program is the backbone of the development cooperation between the two countries. The program is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through NORAD,  with relevant Norwegian ministries and institutions as implementing partners. The Norwegian Embassy in Accra is program manager.