Arab states in the Gulf region are among the most prolific funding contributors to support development in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Funding by Arab bilateral and multilateral institutions accounts for two-third of total development assistance provided by countries that are not members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Over 90% of this assistance is provided by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, with the majority of the funding being channeled as bilateral assistance. Funding by Arab donors is directed toward the improvement of infrastructure and the implementation of socio-economic development projects. The Arab states, and in particular the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are thus significant members of the international donor community.
The regional programme, Cooperation with Arab Donors in MENA (CAD), is intended to help initiate and secure cooperation efforts in the long term at the operational and strategic level.
The close cooperation between aid projects of Gulf-based Arab donors and the German Development Cooperation will result in a more effective and sustainable impact on recipient countries and communities in the region through improved coordination, complementarity and coherence of development assistance. By offering technical know-how and long-term experience with the implementation of German DC, increased cooperation with German organisations facilitates the necessary capacity development for Arab donors in order to secure the developmental potential of their assistance – particularly in unstable social environments.
On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH manages an Open Regional Fund which supports projects in Arab countries. Each project is financed in close cooperation and coordination with at least one Gulf-based Arab donor organisation, and partnerships are envisaged between many German-funded programmes in the MENA region and Arab donors. The areas with the highest priority include microfinance and employment generation for young people, renewable energy supply, education, and women’s empowerment. The targeted beneficiaries are impoverished, marginalized, and disempowered social groups in the Arab world. Participating organisations are actively involved in the planning and implementation of the projects; hence, trustful relationships have been established with all parties involved.
The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is the multilateral development bank of the member countries of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). GIZ and IsDB have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2013 and have since then conducted a series of regional knowledge sharing events and workshops on topics such as Islamic Finance andIslamic Microfinance, Sustainable Urban Transport and Vocational Education.
The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and GIZ signed two grant agreements in 2013 to mark the beginning of the OFID – GIZ partnership. OFID’s first grant is supporting the Arab-German Master studies programme Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) that allows Arab students to join an academic programme at specialized universities in Jordan and Germany. OFID also joined GIZ in supporting Arabterm.org, a technical online dictionary. Furthermore, GIZ-CAD, through the Open Regional Fund, and OFID collaborate in Jordan through the Madrasati project in order to improve the learning environment in public schools who host large numbers of Syrian refugees.
Another partner of GIZ is the Arab Gulf Programme forDevelopment (AGFUND) – a multilateral organisation funded by the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. In February 2015, GIZ and AGFUND completed phase two of a project which supports access to small loans and income for female victims of violence in Yemen. Until November 2014, more than 4,000 women in shelters, prisons, and from poor families have participated in various skills trainings and business development services to start their own projects. Around 80% of them found employment or started their own projects and 388 projects have been launched with the help of loans from the partner microfinance institutions. Through this project, AGFUND and GIZ are working closely with microfinance and civil society organisations, prisons and police departments in Yemen. Phase three of the project, which focuses on the financial inclusion of women in Yemen, has been launched in 2015. For more information on the project, GIZ-CAD offers a factsheet upon request.
Another example is the AGFUND and CAWTAR (Centre for Arab Women Training and Research, Tunis) project, which aims to improve health care and legal services for women. This project has been successfully implemented in Yemen and Tunisia.
Together with the Qatar-based organisation Silatech, the regional programme promoted a project for low-income youth in the Arab world to open saving accounts and gain access to financial institutions and products. The project worked with banks, microfinance institutions and NGOs in Egypt, Yemen and Morocco. In Yemen alone more than 70,000 young people opened saving accounts in more than 90 sales points throughout the country, with a total balance of more than EUR 37 million or EUR 531 on average per saver. For further information please request the project factsheet offered by GIZ-CAD.
Services offered by CAD
CAD is supporting partnerships between Gulf-based Arab donors and the German Development Cooperation. This entails:
- Providing information to donors and establishing contacts
- Organising meetings, workshops, joint trainings and platforms for dialogue
- Preparing factsheets and background papers
- Preparing project ideas, agreements, MoUs in cooperation with Arab donors
- Implementing jointly funded projects through the Open Regional Fund