There is already a noticeable shift in how aid funding is being utilized in Middle East. There are similarities of funding priorities as well as slight difference in terms of priority sectors and themes per each specific country. During the last 12 months (October 2017-September 2018) DARPE researchers managed to identify and track 1,946 tenders and grant  opportunities across Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine as competitively and publicly published by donor agencies and international organizations. Total number of Tenders and grant opportunities identified in the same period is 3,672. 


For Development Implementing Partners including professional services providers, nonprofit organizations and individual consultants, a good start to understand donor’s direction and the whole development business landscape across the 4 countries of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine is to think about the top 3 development sectors that are most funded. Our procurement analytics data, as shown above, reveals that the top three sectors are economic growth, refugees and migration, women rights and empowerment

Economic Growth

Funded economic growth projects have promoted the adoption of inclusive economic growth approaches. Such inclusiveness included activities that help SMEs innovation and competitiveness which are seen as fundamental to the future economic progress and job creation. For instance, Europe Aid’s 5,500,000 (EUR) grant Innovation for Inclusive Growth and Job Creation project in Egypt aims to increase employment and income generation through enhancing the capacity of SMEs and entrepreneurs to innovate while the USAID funded project Lebanon Enterprise Development looks for solutions that improve market access, enhance the quality and quantity of the workforce, facilitate access to finance and to advocate for enabling policy, regulatory, and administrative reforms for selected business registration, start and scaling-up problems.

Women Empowerment

The Middle East region is ranked last globally on the overall gender gap index as having the highest gender gap in economic participation and opportunity, according to the Global Gender Gap Report – an annual World Economic Forum publication. Our tenders and grants analysis shows funding emphasis on women empowerment and women rights in general . For instance,  the 1.5 M US$ funded U.S. State Department 's Strengthening Women’s Contribution to the Economy in the Middle East and North Africa is a grant program that seeks to shorten the gender gap in economic participation and available opportunities whereas the Enhanced Socio Economic Status of Women in South Lebanon project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Lebanon Family Planning Association aims at promoting the work of women from home by building the capacity of women entrepreneurs  through marketing training, distributing their products through established markets and finally building the capacity of women cooperatives.

Refugees and Migration

Evidence shows that bilateral and multi-lateral government agencies are increasingly interested in developing resilience of host communities, refugees and displaced persons in countries hit hard by the refugee crisis of recent years, especially in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. The QUDRA Resilience for Syrian refugees program implemented by Expertise France, funded by the French Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economy and Finance, relies on strengthening social cohesion in Lebanon through community-based services including support to social development centers, child protection activities, awareness campaigns and communication activities. The Migration and Development Grant funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs aims at improving protection and socioeconomic prospects for refugees and host communities. The grant seeks activities built around a framework that guarantees (i) legal position and protection for refugees with right to work and the right to access basic services (ii) education and integrated service delivery for both host communities and refugees that promotes social cohesion, and (iii) economic development and decent work activities

It is important to note at this point that the above data analysis has its own unique limitations including the absence of tenders and grants estimated budgets so that distribution of donors and sectors can be measured not only based on number of procurement notices as we have done in this report but of sectorial distribution that is based on monetary value.

This document was produced by DARPE, November, 2018

NO Comment 6th November 2018

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