Development Cooperation in Egypt

Egypt developed into a lower middle-income country due to the economic growth of the 1990s. Therefore, in 2001, Finland made a decision to withdraw from traditional grant based development aid by 2007 and to move towards a more diverse partnership. The transition phase was carried out in 2005-2007. Bilateral projects were completed in a sustainable way to the satisfaction of the Egyptians.

Finland’s development cooperation with Egypt is considered to be part of Finland’s regional development cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa.  The regional development cooperation funds are channeled through international organisations and financial institutions. Regional programs are complemented by the Embassy’s support to the development of Egyptian civil society, and the Institutional Cooperation Instrument (ICI).

Finland’s development cooperation in the MENA region is focused on two impact areas: 1) inclusive and gender equal societies and 2) sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The strategy emphasizes improving the status of women in society by promoting women’s political and societal participation and economic empowerment. Finland also supports good migration management from a human rights perspective, and promotes the protection and well-being of migrants and refugees. Finland’s approach emphasizes the importance of regional integration and cooperation between national stakeholders. For more information on Finland’s development cooperation in the MENA region, please see the Strategy for Development Cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa 2017 – 2020(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window)

Regional cooperation

Regional projects supported by Finland that are implemented in Egypt:

International Labour Organization (ILO)(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window): “The Way Forward after the Revolution: Decent work for women in Egypt and Tunisia 2012-2017”. ILO's project aims at supporting women to better participate in the labour market through promoting access to employment, entrepreneurship, decent work conditions, and social dialogue. Finland funded the project in 2012 - 2017 for 3.1 million Euros. The project was granted a second phase of funding, 2.2 million Euros, for 2018 - 2021.  The project activities include improving the capacity of labour market institutions to help women, and officials and members of employers' and workers' organizations have been trained on women’s rights and gender equality. Beneficiaries include governmental and municipal bodies, business service providers, employer’s and labour organizations, NGOs, universities and other educational institutions.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window) has expanded its activities to the Eastern and Southern Mediterranean. EBRD supports technical assistance for the development of businesses in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan. The goal of EBRD is to support the growth of local financial institutions and develop their capacity for lending to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. In its cooperation with the EBRD, Finland places strong emphasis on increasing the economic potential of women. Finland’s support in 2012 – 2018 was 6.1 million Euros.

Finland contributes to the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Multi Donor Trust Fund(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window), which aims to act as a catalystic fund for countries undergoing transition. The Fund provides financial assistance to strengthen governance, promote the principles of social and economic non-discrimination, create new jobs and support sustainable growth.  The cross cutting themes of the fund are gender equality, regional integration and promotion of the operational capacity of private sector. Projects can be funded in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen. Finland's share of the fund in 2012-2021 is 1.72 million Euros.

International Organization for Migration (IOM)(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window): “Promoting health and well-being amongst migrants transiting through Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.” The project aims to support and fill the gaps of the national and local migration management actors of Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya with a focus on improving the protection of and health services for migrants. The project prioritizes vulnerable migrants such as women, victims of trafficking, victims of gender-based violence and unaccompanied children. Support for the first phase of the project in 2015 - 2017 was 2.75 million Euros. The project is continued in 2018 -2020 with 2.6 million Euros.

UNDP(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window)/BCRC Basel Convention Regional Centre: Strengthening of the Regional Cooperation of Arab States in Hazardous Waste Management and Trans-boundary Control.  The Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is an international environmental agreement on hazardous and other waste, which entered into force in 1992. The aim of the agreement is to protect the environment and human health by minimizing the amount and harmfulness of hazardous waste. The goal is also to reduce long-distance transportation of hazardous waste and to support the treatment of waste as close as possible to its place of origin. Finland has supported the project through UNDP with 1.2 million Euros in 2012 – 2018.

Finland's support for the activities of the Anna Lindh Foundation(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window) in 2014-2018 was 710.000 Euros. The Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) is the parent organization for the national ALF networks operating in 44 countries across the EU and the Mediterranean region. The focus of the Anna Lindh Foundation is to support the interaction between NGOs in the region, and with EU countries. Finland has supported the Anna Lind Foundation since it was founded in 2005.

Institutional Cooperation Instrument (ICI)

Regional development cooperation programs are complemented by the Institutional Development Cooperation Instrument (ICI), which enables state institutions and agencies to participate in development cooperation. The projects aim at utilizing Finnish know-how in strengthening the expertise of the target country’s state actors such as ministries, institutions and universities. Activities are always based on local needs and initiative.

Finland has strong expertise in areas important to Egypt, such as the water sector and sustainable management of natural resources, as showcased by the ICI-projects presented below.

Finnish Environmental Institute (SYKE)(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window) has been developing an impact assessment of the dredging of lake Manzala in cooperation with an Egyptian partner. Finland's support for 2016–2018 was 440 000 Euros.

The Egyptian Field Crop Research Institute (FCRI) and the Finnish Agricultural and Food Economics Research Center (MTT) implemented a project developing the prerequisites for agricultural production in dry and saline areas in Sinai. Finland's support amounted to 560 000 Euros in 2013–2016.

”Institutional capacity building in equality training and implementation of UNSCR 1325” was a project aiming at increasing the knowledge of gender equality of peacekeepers, police and civilian staff involved in peacekeeping operations. The project also promoted the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.  The project was a cooperation between Crisis Management Center (CMC)(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window) Finland operating under the Ministry of Interior of Finland, and CCCPA (Cairo Regional Center for Training on Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa) operating under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt. The total project budget for 2012–2016 was 795 000 Euros.

Institutional capacity building projects between universities and polytechnics are supported through a separate ICI-instrument (see Ministry for Foreign Affairs website(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window)).

Support to Civil Society


Local Cooperation Fund (LCF) is a fund managed by the Embassy of Finland in Cairo since 2003.  The fund is used for supporting local civil society initiatives in Egypt. In recent years, the projects have focused on strengthening the political participation and economic empowerment of women. All initiatives funded through the LCF must be compatible with both Finland’s development policy goals and the national sustainable development strategy of Egypt.


The fund supports ODA-eligible initiatives of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other non-profit institutions in Egypt. Local cooperation funds cannot be used to support governmental or municipal institutions, ministries or political parties, individuals or private businesses, charities, purely religious activities or microcredit. Funding can only be granted to an Egyptian partner.


More information on LCF scope of funding and application procedure can be found in the section Support for local civil society organisations.

Support to Finnish NGOs

Projects implemented by Finnish NGOs can be supported from the state’s development cooperation funds. The NGO unit of the Department for Development Policy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for choosing the projects. Increasing cooperation between non-governmental organizations is encouraged. For more information, see the website(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window) of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.