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Our Partner Countries

We want to make sure that our aid programme delivers changes for the better in the lives of poor people and poor communities. That is why we concentrate support on a small number of partner countries, in particular, countries in sub-Saharan Africa, to reduce poverty and hunger.

Minister Mc Hugh meets sage recipient with grandchild during his visit to Uganda

Our approach to working at country level has been to concentrate the majority of our resources for long-term development on a small number of partner countries. This way we believe we can have a bigger impact and see real improvements on the ground for poor people and communities. 

Countries need to own and lead their own development if programmes to reduce poverty and hunger are to be effective and sustainable over the longer term.  

That is why we plan and manage programmes in close consultation with the governments of our partner countries.  

Our partner countries

We have nine partner countries.

Eight in sub-Saharan Africa;

And one in southeast Asia;

We also have had an ongoing development programme in South Africa since 1994 in support of the country’s transition from apartheid to democracy. In addition we work with a number of partners to support peace, stability and development in Timor Leste.

Other Countries

In addition, we concentrate support on a small number of  countries affected by conflict and fragility:

The majority of the countries where we work are in sub-Saharan Africa. This reflects our commitment to working with poor countries where a large percentage of the world’s poorest people live.

It also reflects the long historical relationships between Ireland and many African countries, built through the engagement of Irish missionaries and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Ireland’s relationship with our partner countries is changing. While development assistance is still a core feature of our engagement, we recognise that stronger trade and economic relations are also essential for long-term sustainable development.  Our Africa Strategy sets out how we will take account of this in our future support.

Countries need to own and lead their own development if programmes to reduce poverty are to be sustainable over the longer term. 

How we work with our partner countries  

In all cases, we take the national country development plans as our starting point. We identify the results we jointly want to achieve as well as the strategies and partners we will work with in our Country Strategy Plans (CSPs), which we monitor and review on a regular basis.

In implementing these plans:

  • We support initiatives that build the capacity of government systems to plan, manage and deliver services for the poorest
  • We channel resources through government systems ensuring that services reach those in greatest need
  • We build the capacity of institutions that will hold government to account, such as judiciary, parliament, human rights commissions and media

And importantly, we strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations to make sure that governments are responsive and accountable, and better equipped to meet the needs of their citizens.