General information on development cooperation

The Norwegian Government takes an integrated approach to foreign and development policy. Norway’s development policy is designed to promote economic development, democratization, implementation of human rights, good governance and measures that can lift people out of poverty for good. Priority is given to education, humanitarian assistance, health and vaccination, private sector development, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and human rights.

The aid budget is equivalent to approx. 1 % of Norway’s estimated GNI.

Aid for Trade Strategy

The Norwegian Government will use trade as an instrument of development policy. Trade is a necessary, if insufficient, instrument for achieving development, employment and growth.

Norway’s primary trade policy objective is to support and strengthen the multilateral trading system in the WTO. Within the WTO, developing countries have a real opportunity to win acceptance for their demands.

Developing countries are a highly diverse group, and their potential for benefiting from international trade differs greatly. This makes it necessary to differentiate between countries to a greater extent when implementing trade policy. Special and differential treatment should not primarily mean that developing countries remain outside the framework, but that emphasis is placed on identifying what needs to be done in order for them to be included. When seeking to integrate developing countries into the multilateral trading system, it may prove useful to provide assistance in implementing agreements and to develop agreements that are better adapted to the situation in the specific countries.

The Norwegian Aid for Trade strategy aim at ensuring that the developing countries, and especially the LDCs, achieve sustainable economic growth, higher employment, poverty reduction and an improved quality of life for the entire population. Norway gives priority to Africa and the LDCs.

Improving the economic status of women has its own inherent value, but it is also beneficial to society as a whole as it leads to increased tax revenues, economic growth and poverty reduction. Norway works to ensure that women’s rights and gender equality are integrated into all Aid for Trade activities.

Furthermore, the international trade regime and Aid for Trade should play a role in facilitating more environmentally sound and climate-friendly development. A ‘green shift’ can be promoted by increased trade in environmental goods and services and by reducing unnecessary barriers to such trade.

Norwegian aid for trade* by recipient country in 2015 (USD 1000)

The figures for 2015 in the table below include only DAC sector 331 and policy marker Trade development significant and main objective (category 1)

Recipient country

USD 1000


16 071


15 734


8 070


7 500


5 931


2 250


1 469


1 377


1 340


1 270


1 268


1 194


1 082

South Africa

1 081


1 014







Viet Nam




































Macedonia (Fyrom)


Sri Lanka














Congo, Dem. Rep.






Sierra Leone






Global Unspecified

203 080

Africa Regional

4 589

South of Sahara Regional

1 438

Europe Regional


Far East Asia Regional


Asia Regional


Middle East Regional



288 845


Principal official agency responsible for TCB assistance to developing countries

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Contact details



The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is responsible for Norway’s development cooperation and the formulation of development policy. Norway’s bilateral aid management is largely decentralized. While the MFA is responsible for the overall policy and budget allocation to partner countries, once funds are allocated through an appropriation letter, the embassies have financial and programming authority.

Norway sees the multilateral system as complementary to its bilateral efforts. Norway priorities the UN system in its multilateral allocations, with humanitarian assistance comprising a large share.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has a key coordination and advisory role in relation to the other ministries. As a specialist ministry, it is both a preparatory and an executive body on foreign policy questions, economic foreign policy issues and development-related matters.

Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
Contact details



Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) is a directorate under the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In matters regarding Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), Norad reports to the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment. Norad has five main tasks:

  1. Aid advisory services:  Norad provides expert advice about development and aid and works together with a range of other players in development assistance.
  2. Quality assurance and monitoring: Quality assurance of Norwegian aid measures is Norad’s most important responsibilities. This is a question of good financial management, prevention of corruption, practising a zero tolerance policy on corruption, and control over the use of development aid funds. 
  3. Grant programmes: Norad grants funding to health and education, as well as organisations within civil society, research, higher education and industry that work with partners in poor countries.
  4. Communication: Norad aims to provide information about Norwegian aid to the Norwegian public in a way that is easy to understand.

Evaluation. Norad is responsible for independent evaluation of activities funded over the Norwegian development budget. The evaluations are conducted by independent researchers or consultants who have not been involved in the projects.

Other government and official agencies with responsibilities directly relevant to TCB

Innovation Norway
Contact details

Tel: + 47 22 00 25 00

Email: post [at] innovasjonnorge.no


Physical Address
Pb. 448 Sentrum, 0104 Oslo
Akersgata 13, 0158 Oslo

Innovation Norway is the Norwegian Government’s most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry. It supports companies in developing their competitive advantage and to enhance innovation. Norwegian enterprises have access to a broad business support system as well as financial means. Innovation Norway provides competence, advisory services, promotional services and network services. Innovation Norway is the Norwegian government’s official trade representative abroad.

Innovation Norway aims to assist Norwegian businesses grow and find new markets. Innovation Norway is represented in more than 30 countries worldwide and in all Norwegian counties. Innovation Norway is closely affiliated with Norwegian embassies and consulates.

Contact details

Tel: +47 21 62 78 00

Email:  info [at] norwayexports.no


Physical Address
Media Digital AS
Dronningens gate 3
0152 Oslo, Norway

Nortrade is Norway’s official trade portal. It provides up-to-date information for over 8000 Norwegian companies that deal in export, import or other forms of international operations, and provides services to foreign companies looking to establish partnerships and joint ventures with Norwegian companies. It hosts a database of products and services covering 35 business sectors.

Norwegian Accreditation
Contact details


Physical Address
Skedsmogata 5
2000 Lillestrøm, Norway

Norwegian Accreditation (NA) is the Norwegian body for accreditation of laboratories, certification bodies, inspection bodies, EU ETS verifiers and environmental verifiers EMAS). It is also the Norwegian monitoring unit for Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) inspections in all areas according to OECD’s principles, and is the Norwegian signatory to the European Accreditation (EA) multilateral agreements on accreditation (MLA).

Norwegian Industrial Property Office
Contact details

Tel: +47 22 38 73 00 (Customer Service Centre)

E-mail: post [at] patentstyret.no


Physical Address
Sandakerveien 64
0484 Oslo, Norway

Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO): NIPO’s primary role is to promote innovation and value creation, both as national intellectual property rights authority and as a guide and knowledge provider. NIPO is a government authority organized under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. NIPO is responsible for processing applications for patent protection, and for trademark and design registration. It offers courses, seminars and lectures on the importance of intellectual property rights. Its customers include Norwegian and foreign companies, research institutions, inventors and innovators.

Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund)
Contact details

Tel: +47 22 01 93 93

E-mail: post [at] norfund.no


Physical Address
Fridtjof Nansens plass 4
N-0160 Oslo, Norway

Norfund is Norway’s Development Finance Institution. Norfund's mandate is to support the building of sustainable businesses in poor countries and thereby contribute to economic and social development. Norfund is an active strategic minority investor – wholly owned and funded by the Norwegian Government.

Norfund was founded in 1997 by the Norwegian Government. By year end 2016, Norfund’s committed portfolio was NOK 16.5 billion and included around 750 companies. Norfund’s strategy is to invest in sectors and countries where the fund can have the greatest impact, where the private sector is weak and access to capital is scarce. The priority geographical area is sub-Saharan Africa, but Norfund has also investments in some developing countries in South East Asia and Central America. Norfund invests in three sectors: Clean energy, Financial institutions and Food and Agribusiness. Norfund also invests in Private Equity and Venture Capital Funds that target small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in need of early phase or growth capital.

Standards Norway
Contact details

Tel: +47 67 83 87 00

Fax: +47 67 83 87 01

E-mail: salg [at] standard.no


Physical Address
Mustads vei 1
NO-0283 Oslo, Norway

Standards Norway (SN): Standards Norway (SN) is a private and independent member organization, and one of three standardization bodies in Norway. SN is responsible for standardization activities in all areas except the electro-technical and the telecommunications fields. SN is the national member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). SN’s income is based on the sales of standards and related products, grants from the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, membership subscriptions, and financial support for specific projects. SN is the WTO national enquiry point in Norway for technical barriers to trade.

Other offical and NON-governmental organizations involved

TCB cooperation initiatives with UN/international agencies and bilateral partners

In line with the recommendations of the 2005 WTO Task Force on Aid for Trade, Norway gives priority to Aid for Trade through multilateral organizations. Norway’s reliance on multilateral organizations as an important channel for Aid for Trade is also a reflection of the Government’s commitment to the Paris Declaration (complementarity and division of labor).

Below is a breakdown of Norway’s financial contributions to selected multilateral organizations:

  • The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF): EIF’s purpose is, through a unique global partnership, to support LDCs to use trade as a tool for economic growth and poverty reduction. EIF empowers LDCs to identify where trade can form an integral part of national development strategies and assists them to leverage Aid for Trade. Norway’s contribution for the first phase of EIF was NOK 150 million. The same amount has been granted to phase 2 (2016 – 2020), bringing the total Norwegian contribution up to NOK 300 million.
  • UNIDO: Total contributions in 2016 amounted to NOK 41.4 million.
  • WTO Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund (DDAGTF): The DDAGTF provides capacity building in trade policy and WTO rules as well as training programmes for developing countries on WTO regulations. The grant for 2015 – 2016 was NOK 20 million.
  • International Trade Centre (ITC): The Centre works to improve the international competitiveness of SMEs. The grant for 2014 – 2015 was NOK 40 million.
  • Advisory Centre for WTO Law (ACWL): The Centre provides free advice on WTO law to LDCs and other developing countries, support for dispute settlement and legal advice and training in dispute settlement. Annual contribution is NOK 2.5 million.
  • Standards and Trade Development Facility: The STDF is a global partnership that supports developing countries in building their capacity to implement international sanitary and phytosanitary standards, guidelines and recommendations as a means to improve their human, animal and plant health status and ability to gain and maintain access to markets. Annual contribution is NOK 4 million.
  • WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility: The grant for 2015 – 2016 was NOK 30 million.
  • Multi Donor Trust Fund for Trade and Development 2 (World Bank Group): The fund supports analytical trade work across the World Bank to implement the Trade Strategy from 2012-2015. The grant for 2013 – 2015 was NOK 30 million.
  • Trade Faciliation Support Programme (World Bank Group): The grant for 2014 – 2015 was NOK 40 million.
  • World Customs Organization (WCO): NOK 15.1 million for 2012 – 2017 for supporting the WCO capacity building programmes for customs administrations in 6 member countries, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise
Contact details

Tel: +47 23 08 80 00
Fax: +47 23 08 80 01
E-mail: firmapost [at] nho.no


Physical Address
Næringslivets Hus
Majorstuen, Oslo, Norway

The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) is Norway’s major organization for employers and the leading business lobby. NHO’s main objective is to create and sustain conditions that secure the competitiveness and profitability of business and industry. The confederation is made up of 19 sectoral federations and 15 regional offices. NHO has a long history of engagement in the Norwegian development policy debate. The Secretariat for Private Sector Development (PSD) was established in 2002, with a specific mandate to focus on the role of business in alleviating poverty, and with the goal of supporting the development of a strong and sustainable private sector in developing countries. NHO also encourages Norwegian business to seek opportunities to invest and trade with business partners in developing countries.

The Enterprise Federation of Norway
Contact details

Tel: + 47 22 54 17 00
Fax: + 47 22 06 09 30
E-mail: info [at] virke.no


Physical Address
Henrik Ibsens gate 90, Oslo, Norway

Virke (the Enterprise Federation of Norway) organizes and represent over 20 000 businesses in Norway. Members come from industries such as trade, knowledge, technology, travel, service, health, care, education, culture and voluntary work. Virke operates in three key areas: 1) Influencing legislation and regulations on behalf of the members; 2) Negotiating agreements with the unions on behalf of the members and support employers in areas related to employment and labor law issues, personnel issues and HR; and 3) Tailoring industry communities, where Virke takes the initiative for innovation, establishing forums across industries, making industry and trend analysis and building the image of the industries in the public domain.

The Department of international Trade Cooperation (DITC) was established by a collaboration agreement between Norad (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) and Virke (The Enterprise Federation of Norway). The collaboration started in 2003 with an Import Promotion Office. In 2006, Virke and Norad signed a more comprehensive agreement to develop private trade and industry, and commercial institutions. Virke’s mandate in the main programme with Norad has been to increase import from least developed countries and emerging economies to the Scandinavian market. There are few tariff barriers form these countries. However, there are considerable market requirements, both legislative and non-legislative which can be challenging. Together with Norad, and in association with Nordic and local partners, i.e. sister organization, DITC has created different module based training programmes. The programmes aim at training top management, to develop their businesses, with CR and Good Governance as cornerstones, create value-added to their products, and to become a preferred partner on the European market. Hence increasing value and volume of their export, leaving the exporting businesses stronger, both financial and operational.

Selected TCB programmes and initiatives in this guide

WTO Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund (DDAGTF)
Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL)
UNCTAD Trust Fund for Accession
Support for Common Fund for Commodities (CFC)
Norwegian Oil for Development (OfD) Initiative
The Clean Energy for Development Initiative
The Norwegian Fish for Development programme
Private sector development support through the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO)
Statistics for Development in Malawi
WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
Trade Facilitation Support Programme
Support to the World Customs Organization’s Columbus Programme Phase II – Capacity Building for WCO members
Support through multilateral organizations
Support through the World Bank and the regional development banks
Participation through the Enhanced Integrated Framework
Support to Gender mainstreaming
Support to Employment
Support to Youth
Ethical Trading Initiative Norway (IEH)