Egypt is a priority country of SECO’s economic cooperation and development. It is a key regional actor. However, the country faces several challenges, such as an inefficient administration or limited economic competitiveness. Within the framework of Swiss cooperation with Egypt, SECO supports sustainable and inclusive economic development that benefits the entire population.
Egypt is the most populous country and a cornerstone for peace and stability, economic development and migration management in the Arab world. Moreover, it is the most important export market for Switzerland in the region.
Increasing challenges since 2011
After the political upheavals in 2011, Egypt underwent tumultuous years with new presidents and parliaments and a new constitution. At the same time income per capita stagnated and revenues from exports and tourism fell. As a result, the public deficit increased. Further challenges are an inefficient administration and limited economic competitiveness. Moreover, the high rate of poverty and youth unemployment as well as low women’s participation in the labour market need further attention. Finally, Egypt faces challenges from transit migrants and refugees.
What are SECO’s objectives?
In Egypt, Switzerland supports the transition in its political, economic and social dimensions towards an inclusive, resilient and accountable state and society. The three domains of intervention of the Swiss cooperation are "Democratic processes and human rights", "Inclusive sustainable economic growth and employment" and "Protection and migration". SECO’s main focus is on:
- Basic infrastructure and urban development
SECO contributes to inclusive and sustainable urban development. It improves access to basic infrastructure and services such as water and waste management, and possibly energy efficiency and renewable energy.
- More and better jobs
SECO promotes more and better jobs by enhancing the international competitiveness of the private sector and improving access to markets for companies. In addition, it promotes skills development. Thus, it contributes to more employment.
- Financial services and business environment
SECO fosters affordable financial services for all and an improved business environment. It does so by supporting public sector reforms that promote a more conducive business environment and investment climate. Furthermore, it supports reforms that promote macroeconomic stability and improved public financial management.
From 2017 to 2020, a total of some CHF 86 million is earmarked for the Swiss international cooperation with Egypt, of which around CHF 50 million is from SECO. SECO, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Peace and Human Rights Division (PHRD) from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) jointly define and implement the Swiss Cooperation Strategy in Egypt.