Egypt is a priority country of SECO’s economic cooperation and development. It is Switzerland’s most important trading partner on the African continent and a respected regional power. Furthermore, it currently hosts around 6 million migrants form the continent. Egypt has already successfully implemented several economic reforms and now embarks on a second wave of ambitious reforms. Within the framework of the Swiss cooperation programme with Egypt, SECO supports macro-economic reforms as well as more sustainable and inclusive economic development to the benefit of the population.
Egypt is the most populous country in northern Africa, which makes it an important partner to work on peace and stability in the region. Significant progress has been achieved over the last decade on the economic level. Egypt’s commitment to the IMF-assisted reform package proved successful in restructuring several areas of the economy. Critical macroeconomic reforms have contributed to reducing budget and trade deficits, achieving macroeconomic stabilization and promoting growth and employment, as well as putting public debt on a more sustainable trajectory.
Challenges remain in the political and social spheres
Egypt saw unruly years with a changing presidency and parliament and the endorsement of a new constitution. Structural and political reforms towards more inclusive institutions and civil and political rights are lagging behind. While most indicators of human development have been improving slowly but steadily in recent years, adverse developments in the field of gender equality raise social and development concerns. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the situation of the most vulnerable groups, including migrants.
What are SECO’s objectives?
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 programme in Egypt. The four objectives of the Swiss cooperation are Good governance and human rights, Sustainable and inclusive economic development, Vocational skills development and decent work and Migration and protection. Therein, SECO’s focus lies on:
- Good economic governance, macroeconomic reforms and strong institutions
SECO fosters reliable macroeconomic framework conditions and targeted capacity building for public financial management, including debt management, and better public service provision, with the aim of ensuring effective and efficient management of public resources for the benefit of all citizens.
- Greener growth and sustainable urban development
SECO cooperates with governments on the national and subnational level to improve management of land resources, improve water and wastewater management as well as solid waste management. In addition, SECO promotes innovation in cleaner production and energy efficiency as well as financing mechanisms for a greener economy. This will enable Egypt to benefit from more sustainable urbanization, better infrastructure, more resilient cities, and better conditions for sustainable economic growth.
- Vocational skills development and business friendly environment
SECO provides technical assistance to vocational and skills training providers to enhance employability, labour market access and access to finance, especially for the youth, women and migrants. It further supports regulators, service providers and private sector participants through establishing simplified procedures, transparent processes, new financial products and improved entrepreneurship.
Gender equality, a climate-friendly approach and the efficient use of resources are prerequisites for sustainable and inclusive economic development. These aspects are therefore taken into account in all SECO activities. For the period 2021-2024, an overall budget of CHF 84.4 million is foreseen for the Swiss cooperation programme with Egypt. Of this overall budget, at least CHF 35 million will be managed by SECO.