We may be a small country, but we have a BIG heart.

International Development is a key part of Scotland’s contribution to the global community and we place a great deal of importance on being a good global citizen. Our global contribution encompasses our core values of fairness and equality. Our aim is for Scotland to contribute to sustainable development and the fight against poverty, injustice and inequality internationally, to play our part in working to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The global challenges we face today – climate change, pandemics, conflict – serve as a reminder to all of us of our global interconnectedness. What happens in the Global North affects the Global South, and vice versa.
We believe Scotland has a distinctive development contribution to make by being progressive and innovative, harnessing Scotland’s expertise for global good.

Our commitment and our contribution within the international community is more important than ever.

Our international development partnerships

Through our International Development programmes, we have a particular focus on working in partnership with Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and Pakistan. We established an International Development footprint in 2005, with a formal Cooperation Agreement between the Scottish Government and the Government of Malawi, and our programme has continued to develop since then.

Scotland’s relationships with both Malawi and Zambia stretch back more than 150 years, with long-standing partnerships established between our health and education sectors in particular, and this history is reflected in our international development investments. Scotland’s relationship with Rwanda is more recent, born out of links at the higher education level between our two countries.

Scotland is home to a large and vibrant Pakistani community, many of whom maintain close links with their families and friends in Pakistan. Early Pakistani migrants to Scotland helped open the door for the Scottish-Asian community to play a valued and influential role in public life, civil society and business. We continue to strengthen our existing bilateral relationship, supporting inclusive education through women and girls’ scholarships in Pakistan via our International Development programme.

We have a new focus on sectoral areas agreed with our partner country governments – health, inclusive education, equalities and renewable energy. Through our new International Development programmes we are partnering with our focus countries to tackle non-communicable diseases, supporting inclusive education for those who have additional support needs, and advancing the rights of women and girls.

Humanitarian crises

In 2017, we established an annual Humanitarian Emergency Fund. Its purpose is to provide effective assistance to reduce the threat to life and wellbeing of large numbers of people when faced with a humanitarian emergency.
In recent times, the Scottish Government has also invested over £5 million in humanitarian aid to provide basic assistance to those fleeing conflict in Ukraine, including through healthcare, water, sanitation and shelter.
The support from our Humanitarian Emergency Fund reflects our commitment to fulfilling our role as a compassionate global citizen.


Scotland’s vision of partnership and people-to-people links remains firmly embedded in our relationship with Malawi today and is the cornerstone of our strong friendship. These links formed the basis for the Scottish Government's formal 2005 Cooperation Agreement with the Government of Malawi, signed by Scotland's First Minister and the President of Malawi.

about our projects in Malawi


Due to the sheer size of Zambia, Scotland’s presence in the country is focused on specific regions where we can have the most impact. Working closely with the people and communities in these areas, we are helping to drive progress in health and education and supporting Zambia as it looks to achieve its own set of Global Goals.

about our projects in Zambia


Though Scotland’s relationship with Rwanda is relatively young – with ties having been built and cemented over the last 20 years – it is just as strong as the others. We have provided funding for projects addressing food security, renewable energy, climate change and water in Rwanda as part of our wider sub-Saharan Africa Development Programme.

about our Projects in Rwanda


The Pakistani community’s contribution to Scotland is incredibly significant and we are very proud of the links this has helped build between our two countries. We are dedicated to strengthening this relationship, with an ongoing emphasis on education through scholarships, and collaboration with key Scottish educational agencies focused on education system improvement.

about our projects in Pakistan