Cooperation with Arab donors

Project description

Title: Cooperation with Arab donors
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Jordan, Yemen
Lead executing agency: Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC)
Overall term: 2009 to 2018

Zusammenarbeit mit arabischen Gebern in der MENA-Region. Frauen lernen, Schmuck anzufertigen. © GIZ


Alongside those member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that make up the Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC), the Arab nations form an important donor community too. The member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in particular are home to institutions that specialise in allocating funds for development assistance. Arab donors account for about three quarters of development aid from non-DAC countries, and around half of Arab development aid goes to the Arab countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Despite the generous contributions of these institutions, coordination between Arab and OECD-DAC donors is somewhat hesitant. Potential synergies are lost, making development activities less effective and less sustainable.


German and Arab official and non-governmental development cooperation organisations work together more closely at strategic and operational level.

Zusammenarbeit mit arabischen Gebern in der MENA-Region. Frauen bei einer Erste-Hilfe-Schulung. © GIZ


To achieve this objective, cooperation projects backed by an open regional fund are being jointly planned, financed and implemented with one or more Arab donors in one of the recipient countries in the MENA region. Support is given to projects that strengthen civil society structures and contribute to poverty reduction. The support components include advisory services, basic and further training and a limited amount of materials and equipment. The programme covers all countries in the MENA region in which German development cooperation operates.

In Yemen, the programme cooperates with the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND), a multilateral organisation based in Saudi Arabia. The current project on Promoting Women's Financial Inclusion focuses on teaching financial skills and developing needs-based financial products for women.

In Jordan, cooperation has been set up between the regional programme, the OPEC Fund for International Development and the Jordan River Foundation. In response to the influx of refugees from Syria and the challenges this has posed for Jordan, the Madrasati Project was launched. It aims to improve the learning environment and quality of teaching in schools with a high percentage of Syrian refugee children and facilitate the integration of refugees into host communities.

Other partners include the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).


The Arab donors are playing an active part in planning and implementing projects. Progress is clearly being made in building trust, combined with dialogue on small but effective projects relevant to development policy that are implemented with the partner organisations.

The programme has been working successfully with AGFUND for seven years. The project on Women's Access to Microfinance and Support to Victims of Violence has provided training and income opportunities for more than 11,000 women affected by violence in Yemen.

The project on Improving Women's Access to Health and Legal Services, which was implemented from 2013 to 2014 by the Center of Arab Women for Training and Research with funding from AGFUND, supported the training of around 30 midwives in Yemen. In Tunisia, 40 employees of a non-governmental organisation were trained to provide counselling services for women affected by domestic violence.

Together with Silatech, an organisation based in Qatar, the regional programme has supported a project to develop and disseminate savings products designed for young people. The project worked with banks, microfinance institutions and NGOs and reached more than 72,000 young people in Egypt, Morocco and Yemen between 2012 and 2014. In Yemen, more than 70,000 young people have opened a savings account, depositing a total sum of EUR 37 million. In Morocco, almost 2,000 young men and women took part in training events focusing on financial literacy. In partnership with Cairo University, 32 people were trained to give courses in this field.

Zusammenarbeit mit arabischen Gebern in der MENA-Region. Frauen im Computerkurs. © GIZ