Satellite image of the Nile delta in Egypt

Egypt An important link between Africa and the Middle East

Since the revolution which led to Hosni Mubarak stepping down as president in 2011, stabilisation of the political and economic situation in Egypt has been slow. The government has been taking steps to initiate economic reforms. However, its actions are very much influenced by security considerations and are focused on maintaining its hold on power.

Straight to
Construction site vehicles in front of a wind turbine in Egypt

Since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014, civil society and the political opposition have found their scope for action increasingly limited. The separation of powers is no longer guaranteed and the human rights situation is worrying. Freedom of opinion, freedom of assembly, press freedom and the work of non-governmental organisations are severely restricted. Politics, the economy and society are increasingly coming under military control.

The Egyptian government has, to a large extent, been successful in mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining economic growth. However, the risk of social unrest remains high. The protests in 2011 were not just directed against an authoritarian regime. From the outset, people were also calling for jobs, affordable food and an end to corruption and nepotism. Egypt continues to face huge challenges when it comes to improving the economic and social situation of its people.

German development cooperation with Egypt

Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, and Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, during the virtual ceremony for the signing of two memoranda of understanding with ministers from Egypt

Its political, economic and military significance in the Middle East / North Africa region makes Egypt an important partner for German development cooperation. The aim of German development cooperation is to help improve the living conditions of the general population and boost reform efforts in politics and society.

At the government negotiations in December 2022, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) committed new funding of approximately 186 million euros to Egypt for development cooperation.

The two countries' cooperation focuses on the following core areas:

  • Conserving nature and natural resources, protecting life on Earth
    Area of intervention: water
  • Climate and energy – Just transition
    Areas of intervention: renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable urban development
  • Sustainable economic development, training and employment
    Areas of intervention: technical and vocational education and training, private sector and financial sector development

The BMZ is also engaged in activities aimed at improving governance, particularly strengthening civil society and empowering women and young people, and supporting work on demographic development, digital technology and administrative reform.

A man is sitting at an irrigation canal near Qena on the Nile, Egypt.

Core area “Conserving nature and natural resources, protecting life on Earth” Protecting resources, avoiding conflicts over water Internal link

Egypt has very little rainfall and its groundwater resources are limited. Ninety-five per cent of the country is desert and less than four per cent of the land can be used for agriculture. Human communities, agriculture and industry are heavily dependent on the Nile. Germany is supporting Egypt in its efforts to reform the water sector.

Production of towers for wind turbines in Egypt

Core area “Climate and energy, just transition” Using wind power, boosting efficiency Internal link

In its Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy to 2035, the Egyptian government has set the ambitious target of increasing the proportion of renewables in the electricity mix to more than 20 per cent by 2022 and to 42 per cent by 2035. Germany is also advising and assisting Egypt with regard to necessary investments and reforms in the energy sector and the implementation of energy efficiency programmes.

Apprentice at the Leoni Company in Cairo

Core area “Sustainable Economic Development, training and employment” Needs-based training for young people Internal link

One important area of Egyptian-German cooperation is vocational training and youth employment. Each year, around 850,000 young Egyptians enter the labour market. However, a large proportion of them fail to find suitable work. At the same time, many businesses are complaining about a skills shortage. This particularly affects technical and skilled trades occupations.

Current situation

Demonstration on Tahrir Square in the centre of Cairo on 1 February 2011
Street scene in the old town of Cairo
Construction site vehicles in front of a wind turbine in Egypt

As at: 23/01/2023