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Publications, 2/1/2001

Evaluation of the Development Co-operation Programme between Egypt and Finland

Liisa Tervo, Eeva Hiltunen, Pekka Kuosmanen, Tor Lundström, Johanna Maula

Evaluation Report 2001:2
Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Department for International Development Co-operation
ISBN 951-724-344-8
ISSN 1235-7618



The evaluation was to:

1. assess the evolution of Finnish-Egyptian bilateral development cooperation 1980-2000, looking at its relevance, impacts, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability;

2. extend a full-range analysis to the agriculture and health sectors in this bilateral cooperation;

3. cover the basic issues of bilateral cooperation with Egypt, namely the financial amounts, aid instruments, sectors of cooperation and types of activities, aid programming practice and consistency, aid administration and project management, cooperation outside the country programme framework, interaction with other actors, and participation of Finland in the local coordination between the donors and the Government.

4. address the following policy level issues:

- Egypt as a cooperation partner;
- policy coherence of Finnish development cooperation in Egypt;
- complementarity with the EU development cooperation policy in post 1995 years;
- match between the Egyptian development policies and Finnish aid policy priorities in the programme;
- how the programme reflected the goals of Finnish development aid in the 1990s;
- in what way economic reforms and macroeconomic programming are taken into consideration;
- compatibility of the Finnish inputs in the total foreign aid scheme in Egypt.
- which thematic issues are to be continued or strengthened in future activities in view of sustainable development cooperation;
- other ways to address the sustainability concerns in the programme;


Massive amounts of assistance have been and are flowing into Egypt, led by USAID. Egypt is the fourth largest recipient of ODA in absolute terms, and the largest per capita. Finland is invisible with only a 0.2% share of total ODA between 1995-1999.

Total volume of Finnish assistance to Egypt over the 20-year period was FIM 854 million; most (65%) of it was disbursed during the 1980s. Egypt has been the sixth largest recipient of Finnish assistance between 1980 and 2000. In February 2001, the Finnish Government decided to discontinue the long-term partner country status of Egypt and phase out the programme within three to seven years. The allocations for the first two years will, however, increase from the present level, and two entirely new projects will be launched.

Between 1980 and 2000, the largest sector of Finnish assistance was energy (43%), followed by the water and sanitation, agriculture, health, and environment sectors. These sectors have been more or less the same over the past 20 years. The only change was the dropping of the energy sector and inclusion of the environment sector in the 1990s. The programme has been scattered over more than 50 projects. One&64979;third of them were financed through development credits. These credits were partly forgiven and partly changed into a grant in 1992. No concessional credits were ever used.

The focus of Finnish assistance shifted from economic development and growth in the 1980s towards social development in the 1990s. In the 1980s, Finnish bilateral development assistance went mainly to investments to rehabilitate Egypt&8217;s productive base and infrastructure. In the 1990s, most projects were TA, institutional development and twinning projects.

The programming and administration capacity at the MFA has varied. Periodically it has been poor. The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation of Egypt has been weak. A country strategy paper for Egypt was prepared in 1994 but never implemented. The last bilateral consultations were held in 1996.

The two focus sectors of the evaluation represented less than 20% of the volume of the overall Finnish programme with Egypt. The health sector&8217;s share was 7%. Cooperation in this sector began in the late 1970s. Five projects were implemented. Since 1997, no health projects have been financed. One new project is in the pipeline. The orientation of this assistance has evolved from local and secondary health care to regional and primary health care. The third generation is emerging, with a thematic and national approach.

The share of the agricultural sector in the programme was 12%. Cooperation began in this sector in 1981. Twelve projects have been implemented, two of them are on-going. In the beginning, the focus was on the modernization of agro-industries. In the early 1990s, the emphasis was shifted towards agricultural research. After 1993, no new projects have been launched.


The development cooperation policies with Egypt were more coherent in the early 1980s than they have been since. The programme in the 1980s was in line with Egyptian development priorities. In the 1990s, this was not so clear, though the Finnish programme was not contradictory to Egyptian priorities. Today, Finnish aid policy priorities and Egyptian development policies do not fully coincide.

The programme has not addressed the poor in particular. Environmental concerns have been well taken care of, and they are an integral part of the programme. The gender issues have been poorly taken into account in project preparation. Human rights and democracy issues have been an insignificant part of the programme. Promotion of economic interaction has not been included in the programme, with one or two minor exceptions.

No baseline studies have supported the project preparation, causing effectiveness constraints. In general, however, the projects reviewed have been implemented effectively. Efficiency in aid programming and administration has been hampered by the lack of clear strategic guidelines, and by inadequate capacity. Project implementation in general terms has been up to the standard. It could have been improved, however, for instance with fewer changes in project personnel. Sustainability of the projects and the overall programme was determined to be questionable.

The recommendations of the evaluation team are summarized as follows:

- the long-term partner country status of Egypt should be discontinued. The team supports the decision already taken by the Finnish Government.
- a clear exit strategy should be designed. This must be done in close cooperation with the Egyptian authorities.
- possible future thematic cooperation should be based on synergies between Finnish comparative advantages/expertise and under-resourced Egyptian needs.
- NGO cooperation and local cooperation funds should be continued, focusing on cross cutting issues.
- regional programmes, multilateral, particularly MEDA cooperation should be given more emphasis.
- no major efforts to market concessional credits should be made.
- a new instrument for business partnerships between Finnish and Egyptian (and other countries&8217;) companies should be developed. Other donor countries&8217; (e.g. Denmark) experiences should be carefully taken into account.
- PPP possibilities should be carefully studied.

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Updated 7/20/2006

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