Development cooperation

Finland's support to the South African anti-apartheid movement was transformed into development cooperation in 1995. The objective was to assist South Africa's efforts in building a socially and economically more inclusive and equal society. Currently, a wide range of development cooperation instruments are used: regional cooperation, local cooperation, as well as partnerships between Finnish and South African institutions and businesses.

For more than 20 years, the development cooperation between Finland and South Africa has notably focused on initiatives that promote environmental governance, implementation of renewable energy services, entrepreneurship, and advancement of innovations and information society. The objectives and priorities of the cooperation are defined by both countries but South African institutions are responsible for the implementation of the programmes. Finland's role is to support the initiatives by building capacity and providing know-how.

In line with a Declaration of Intent on Deepening Bilateral Relations and Strengthening Partnerships signed in 2009, grant-based bilateral cooperation has been phased out and focus has turned to building sustainable partnerships and working together on the African continent. This can be realized, for example, through partnerships in regional projects.

Fund for Local Cooperation for 2020-2021

The Fund for Local Cooperation is a fund administered by the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria. The fund supports initiatives of local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), science and technology communities, universities and other educational and research institutions, independent media, public corporations and cultural institutions (e.g. museums, libraries and theatres), chambers of commerce and commercial associations, organisations in the area of export and investment promotion, businesses, cooperatives, interest groups of companies and employees, foundations and religious organisations.

List of projects funded by the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria through Fund for Local Cooperation (FLC) 2021-2022

Background and Objectives of the Fund

The priorities of the Fund managed by the Embassy include the economic development and entrepreneurship, the democracy and the functioning of societies. The main objective of the FLC is to provide funding for South African organisations working for strengthening the civil society, promoting governance and economic development. Actors working in this field can apply for funding for projects in the following areas:

-Strengthening of private sector and job creation through innovation development and entrepreneurship
-Good governance and vibrant democracy

FLC projects are meant to strengthen the capacity of civil society and its actors in South Africa. In addition, it supports institutional and private sector actors, in the framework of projects with a verifiable impact on development. FLC also serves as a tool for the Embassy to widen its contacts, through strategic partners, as well as take into account public diplomacy.

Partnership and selection criteria

The aim is to establish longterm partnerships with a limited number of organizations (3 – 5 every second year), instead of supporting once off activities, seminars, and so forth.  Projects/Applications will be assessed based on their relevance to local needs and priorities and also taking into account the relevance of a project in relation to the vision and the mission of the applying organization. The Projects/Applications best promoting the focus areas of FLC and the strategic goals of the Embassy will be selected.

Strategic thematic areas:

1.        Science, technology, innovations – strengthening institutions and entrepreneurship

The objective is to strengthen the capacity of science, technology and innovation institutions and entrepreneurship to better commercialize and brand the innovations and results of research. This could be achieved by:
- Capacity building and training of the staff and possible partners
- Assisting the start-ups and female entrepreneurs in business development, supporting drafting the marketing strategies, communication plans, research programmes, developing new innovations, branding etc.
- Support to conducting market studies and analysis, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies
- Partner search

Success indicators are improvement of business and economic opportunities, new innovations and brands, number of new jobs created.

2.        Good and accountable governance and vibrant democracy  

Countries need better-functioning governance, a socially responsible private sector, sustainable investments and civil society that can address irregularities. This theme focuses on good and accountable governance and vibrant democracy. Corruption and misuses of funds prevent the achievement of development and realization of human rights. Through transparency, societies can, for example, act against corrupt decisions and plans which are not in their interest. Think tanks and research institutes are also seen important way to the Embassy to network and participate in many relevant debates and round table discussions.

The objective is through FLC support Applicants are able to better serve as an actor to improve governance structures and policies in the society. This could be achieved by:
- Promoting good governance policies and principles
- Promoting access to information
- Increasing participation in political debates, round tables, discussions etc in South African
- Fighting against corruption

Success indicators are increased understanding of the local political and decision making systems and principles, improved use of source of information, participation in the political debates, oversight bodies are transformed and responsive, accountable and useful.

Project Monitoring and Evaluation

The FLC Coordinator monitors the projects paying special emphasis on the results, deliverables, relevance and impact of the projects. All funded organizations shall conduct an annual audit. In addition to the regular audits, principles of good governance shall be applied. Prior to signing the funding agreement a special due diligence and financial management assessment of the Applicant shall be conducted. Any 'improvements' needed, the organization may hire an expert to set up acceptable FM procedures at their expense.

By the end of March every year, the Embassy submits an annual report to the Department of Development Policy in Finland.

FLC Eligibility and Funding Criteria 2019-2021


Further Information can be requested from:
FLC coordinator Ms. Tsakane Bok, [email protected]

Postal address: 
Embassy of Finland, FLC
PO Box 443, Pretoria 0001
Telephone: +27 12 343 0275 ext 219
Fax: +27 12 343 3095

Tell us about any alleged misuse in development cooperation(Link to another website.)

We take all suspicions of misuse of Finnish development cooperation funds seriously. You can report any suspicions about the misuse through our service. Misuse may be due to carelessness or lack of professional skills, be deliberate or even consist of actions or negligence that fulfill the elements of a criminal offence.