Since the Arab Spring, DFID has been working more closely with Arab transition countries to create stable, open and prosperous economies.
The UK is supporting Tunisia, Egypt and Libya to build effective institutions after the revolutions of 2011 toppled long-standing autocratic regimes. We are also supporting the economic and political reform processes led by the Jordanian and Moroccan governments.
The Arab transition countries are facing significant economic challenges that complicate their fragile transition processes and could lead to further instability. Although these countries have reached middle income status, Arab transition countries are vulnerable in all or some of the following areas:
- economic growth slowed during the Arab Spring due to reduced investment and tourism. Some governments now face economic challenges that include high fiscal deficits and rising fuel and food prices, leading to worsening living conditions.
- the high unemployment levels that helped spark the Arab uprisings have increased since the Arab Spring, with unemployment rates in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region especially severe among young people and women.
- previous governments have left a legacy of corruption and economic mismanagement that led to increasing inequality despite economic growth.
- security in some countries remains poor, threatening the safety of citizens as they go about their everyday lives, as well as discouraging new investments.
The Department for International Development (DFID) provides regional assistance to the Middle East and North Africa through the Arab Partnership Economic Facility (APEF), part of the joint DFID-Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Arab Partnership. The APEF is a £70m facility for the period 2011-2015. Through the Fund, DFID works with country governments, civil society and multilateral institutions to help:
- create a conducive environment for economic growth by helping tackle barriers such as a lack of access to finance, limited regional integration and the skills gap that makes it hard for graduates to find jobs. For example, we are supporting the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to expand into the MENA region, allowing it to provide up to $2.5 billion of finance for businesses until 2015. DFID’s £5m contribution to the EBRD Multi-Donor Account enables the EBRD to provide technical assistance to accompany investment projects.
- generate inclusive economic growth with opportunities especially for women and youth. For example, we are supporting the World Bank to help develop banking services tailored to women and youth entrepreneurs.
- support the creation of effective and accountable institutions in Arab transition countries. For example, we are providing technical assistance to the Libyan government to improve public financial management and to increase transparency of oil revenue spending.
See also our Development Tracker to explore international development projects funded by the UK government by country and sector.
As part of the Arab Partnership, DFID supports the UK’s participation in the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition. DFID has contributed £16 million to the Deauville Transition Fund and is supporting other UK Deauville Presidency initiatives, such as the SME mentoring initiative Forsa and UK Asset Recovery Task Force with funding and expertise.
DFID also contributes £20 million to the FCO-led Arab Partnership Participation Fund, which strengthens political inclusion and public voice in the MENA region.
Alongside the FCO and the Ministry of Defence, DFID contributes to the tri-departmental Conflict Pool to support security sector reform, judicial reform, reconciliation initiatives and transitional justice in some of our focus countries.
DFID staff are based in the British Embassies in Libya, Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt, as we do not have DFID offices in these countries.
For detailed information on our programme and what the UK spends on development in MENAD, see the DFID MENAD operational plan 2014 and for detailed information on our programme in Jordan, see the DFID Jordan operational plan 2014. See also our Development Tracker to explore international development projects funded by the UK government by country and sector.