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. We firmly believe that Scotland can play a unique role in finding solutions to the common challenges facing our world today. Our pioneering and innovative expertise in areas including human rights, health, education, social enterprise, renewable energy and climate change are just some of the ways that we can do this.
Scotland is dedicated to playing its part in tackling global challenges such as poverty, injustice, inequality – to name just a few. As part of this dedication, we created the International Development Fund way back in 2005 and since then we’ve committed more than £100 million to this fund.
In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly developed a set of globally-agreed priorities for tackling poverty and inequality called ‘Sustainable Development Goals'. In line with these goals, Scotland’s International Development Fund now contributes to sustainable development and the fight against poverty, injustice and inequality in four main partner countries: Malawi, Pakistan, Rwanda and Zambia.
These countries were chosen as the focus of our fund not only because we believe we can help make a real difference, but also because we have strong cultural ties and long-standing friendships with them – some going back more than 150 years!
So, let us tell you a little bit more about our good friends:
Scotland has special and historical links with Malawi that stretch back more than 150 years to Dr. David Livingstone – perhaps Scotland’s most famous explorer. Livingstone was so enamoured by the region that, when establishing one of the first trading settlements in the area, he named it after the Scottish town where he was born – Blantyre. Today, Blantyre is home to more than 800,000 people and is the commercial and financial capital of Malawi. Livingstone’s vision of partnership and people-to-people links remain firmly embedded in Scotland's relationship with Malawi today and are 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.
Dr. Livingstone’s talents in the field of exploration also play a large role in the historical relationship Scotland has with Zambia. During his time in the area, Livingstone became the first European to gaze at the magnificent waterfalls of the Zambezi River – naming them Victoria Falls after Queen Victoria. Upon Livingstone’s death in 1873, Livingstone’s heart was removed from his body and buried under a tree which serves as a memorial to this day, before the rest of his body was transported back home. Due to the sheer size of Zambia, Scotland’s presence in the country today is focused on specific regions where we can have the most impact. Together with the people in these areas, we are working to ensure that Zambia is able to achieve its own set of Global Goals.
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. Between 2008 and 2017, we 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. Today, our commitments are aimed at supporting and promoting activities between the two countries in a bid to ensure our friendship remains strong, with a particular focus on education and economic development. Together with the people of Rwanda, Scotland is working hard to ensure that Rwanda is also able to achieve its own set of Global Goals.
Scotland is home to a large and vibrant Pakistani community, including a sizeable student population, many of whom still maintain close links with families and friends back home 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. The community’s contribution to Scotland – culturally, economically and socially – is incredibly significant and we are very proud of the links this has helped build between our two countries. We are dedicated to continuing our contributions and strengthening our existing bilateral relationship with Pakistan, with an ongoing emphasis on education through scholarships, and collaboration with key Scottish educational agencies focused on education system improvement.