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Switzerland’s concrete commitment for North Africa

The following projects illustrate how Switzerland is supporting the changes taking place in the countries of North Africa. Together with the Directorate of Political Affairs of the FDFA, the Federal Office for Migration and SECO, the SDC is active in North Africa in assisting with the successful transition to democracy, promoting economic development and ensuring protection for those in need.



Volunteer neighbourhood disaster relief workers in Morocco

Country/Region: North Africa (Tunisia, Marocco, Libya, Egypt)
Responsible organisations: SDC

In a country like Morocco, where the natural elements provoke serious incidents, prompt first-aid intervention is crucial in saving lives. To better manage these situations, some Moroccan towns have deployed their own residents to back up their emergency services when a disaster occurs. The SDC supports this measure and is participating in the training of volunteer relief workers.




Reform of the security forces as part of the transition to democracy in North Africa

Country/Region: North Africa (Tunisia, Marocco, Libya, Egypt)
Responsible organisations: SDC; Directorate of Political Affairs(DFFA)

The uprisings in North Africa at the beginning of 2011 were directed to a considerable extent against the security forces on which the dictatorial regimes of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia have relied for decades. There is an urgent need for reorientation of the armed forces of the state to ensure a successful democratic transition.




 The return of illegally acquired funds

Country/Region: North Africa (Tunisia, Libya, Egypt)
Responsible organisations: Directorate of International Law; Federal Department of Justice and Police; The Office of the Attorney General

In 2011 the Federal Council reacted rapidly to the upheavals in the Arab world by freezing the assets of certain politically exposed persons from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The task now is to clarify the origins of these assets through legal processes and to return illegally acquired funds as quickly as possible to the countries of origin.




 Creation of jobs in fish farming and marketing 

Country/Region: Egypt
Responsible organisation: SDC

In a bid to help alleviate poverty, the WorldFish project seeks to create 10'000 aquaculture jobs in five governorates of Egypt. These efforts should generate greater profits by focusing on the farming of higher-yield fish species, better feed, and the reuse of breeding ponds during the winter months for agricultural purposes




 Combating torture: Reforms in the transition process 

Country/Region: Egypt
Responsible organisation: Directorate of Political Affairs (DFFA)

Switzerland’s human rights commitment in Egypt has for a number of years focused on combating torture. The aim is to support the process towards a stable political system in which fundamental rights are respected.




 Strengthening the medicinal and aromatic plants sector   

Country/Region: Egypt
Responsible organisation: SECO

This project will upgrade the Egyptian «medicinal and aromatic plants» sector (MAP) by establishing a quality and safety scheme, improving varieties, increasing productivity, reducing losses and upgrading production and processing technologies. A better marketing and the creation of export consortiums will lead to a better sale price and new market opportunities.




 Introducing mediation    

Country/Region: Egypt
Responsible organisation: SECO

The project is implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and seeks to encourage mediation as an alternative method for settling commercial and financial disputes.  




 Removal of the remnants of war materials in Libya 

Country/Region: Egypt
Responsible organisation: Directorate of Political Affairs (DFFA)

The United Nations acted quickly to coordinate efforts to remove mines and explosive remnants of war in Libya. In cooperation with the national authorities and with international non-governmental organisations, explosive remnants of war including mines are now being defused and removed.




 Assistance for 3'600 migrants who have fled Libya  

Country/Region: Libya
Responsible organisations: SDC; Federal Office for Migration

The lack of stability and the continuing violence led to the dramatic flight of some 140'000 citizens of third countries from Libya in the spring of 2011. Many of them ended up stranded in the bordering regions of Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Chad, and Niger. Switzerland supported the International Organization for Migration with financial contributions and by seconding a humanitarian expert with the aim of bringing the stranded persons back to their home countries as rapidly as possible. 


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 Job creation in disadvantaged regions

Country/Region: Tunisia
Responsible organisation: SDC

The I-SEMER project (Swiss initiative for jobs and rural SMEs) aims to create 10'000 jobs for young people in four disadvantaged governorates [wilayat] of Tunisia within a period of three years.




 Support for the first free elections after the fall of the Ben Ali regime

Country/Region: Tunisia
Responsible organisations: SDC; Directorate of Political Affairs(DFFA)

After 23 years of dictatorial rule under President Ben Ali, Tunisia held its first free elections on 23 October 2011. Switzerland, at Tunisia’s request, assisted with every stage of the election process.




 Construction of two water treatment plants

Country/Region: Tunisia
Responsible organisation: SECO 

Thanks to financial support for the construction of two sewage plants in Thala and Feriani (Kasserine district), over 40'000 people in the two towns are now connected to the sewage system.




 Project on clean production 

Country/Region: Tunisia
Responsible organisation: SECO

The aim of the project for cleaner production in Tunisia (PPPT) is to help Tunisian companies meet current environmental requirements through the sustainable use of resources, the transfer of environmental technology to local specialists, and new training programmes designed to create employment.


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 Radio Gafsa: From state broadcaster to public service

Country/Region: Tunisia
Responsible organisation: SDC

Until recently closely controlled by the state, the media in Tunisia lack the expertise and experience to perform their important role in the transition towards democracy. The SDC is supporting a project by the Fondation hirondelle to transform the state regional broadcaster Radio Gafsa into a professional public information channel.




 Support for the care of illegal migrants

Country/Region: Marocco
Responsible organisation: SDC

Morocco, originally a country of transit for people south of the Sahara heading for Europe has in recent years become an immigration country. Due to the strict controls at Europe’s borders Morocco is now the end of the road for many migrants. The centre run by Caritas offers psychological support, decent basic care and lobbies for the social and institutional integration of the migrants.


 Dossier North Africa strategy

 Video: Projects of the SDC in Tunisia