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Middle East & North Africa


heading foldHow we are helping

2012/13 Expenditure

$59.6 million

2013/14 Proposed Expenditure

$47.4 million


Expenditure is total official development assistance inclusive of DFAT’s bilateral program, flows from DFAT regional and global programs and other government departments.

Implementation of the revised 2013-14 budget is currently under discussion with partner governments and organisations.


The Middle East and North Africa region continues to be affected by conflict, political uncertainty and social unrest following Arab Spring civil uprisings that began in late 2011. It also faces food and water shortages, high youth unemployment and security challenges. Australia is supporting the Middle East and North Africa region by providing humanitarian assistance to people suffering from political fragility, conflict and displacement, such as in Syria and Yemen. Australia is also improving livelihoods by targeting employment generation and agricultural activities, particularly in Egypt.

Australia has invested more than $159.1 million in development assistance in the Middle East and North Africa over the last three years, including humanitarian assistance to Syria, Libya and Yemen. Some of the key results include:

  • supporting the United Nations Development Programme facilitate transparent and credible elections in Egypt and Tunisia
  • encouraging the creation of more than 5,000 jobs in Egypt
  • supporting the delivery of food, shelter and basic health care to two million people inside Syria and assistance to 1.5 million refugees in the region.

More results can be viewed under the ‘see our results’ tab above.

Australia expects to provide $59.6 million in development assistance to the Middle East and North Africa region in 2012-13. We will continue to:

  • increase food security
  • encourage employment generation
  • respond to critical humanitarian needs especially people suffering from ongoing conflict in Syria and food insecurity in Yemen.

More on expected outcomes can be viewed under the ‘See our results’ tab above.

Economic development

Results 2011-2012

  • Regional (Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco): Australia sponsored 10 agricultural researchers and policy makers from Egypt and five from Tunisia to attend the Fifth World Congress on Conservation Agricultural in Brisbane in September 2011.

Commitments 2012-2013

  • Egypt: Increase agricultural productivity and access to high quality water for up to 140 000 small-scale farmers, covering 80 000 hectares.
  • Egypt: Establish two long-term research projects between Australian and Egyptian agricultural research organisations on water use efficiency and food security.
  • Regional (Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco): Egypt benefits from Australia’s contribution to the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development who provide loans to small and medium enterprises.
  • Egypt: The creation of over 5000 jobs in Egypt through training delivered in partnership with the German Development Agency, and through the International Labour Organisation.

More about economic development


Results 2011-2012

  • Tunisia: Australia has supported the establishment of the Tunisian Electoral Commission, the delivery of public outreach campaigns designed to engage civil society and women in electoral activities.
  • Egypt: Australia also supported fair and transparent elections in Egypt by strengthening electoral institutions and processes.

More about governance


Results 2011-2012

  • Libya: Australia was the third largest humanitarian donor to Libya, having provided $44.6 million in humanitarian assistance in response to the crisis (2010–12).
  • Syria: Australia responded to the crisis in Syria with $16m (2010–12) in humanitarian assistance, including to the International Committee of the Red Cross ($8m), World Food Programme ($3m), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ($2m) and the United Nations Officer for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) ($3m)
  • Yemen: Australia funded the provision of humanitarian supplies in Yemen, health and significantly reducing suffering for more than 22 000 people through the Yemen Emergency Response Fund.
  • Egypt: The clearance of mines in 31 130 hectares of the North West Coast of Egypt (2010–11).
  • Egypt: Food aid to more than 77 000 people in Egypt affected by conflict (2010–11).

Commitments 2012-2013

  • Australia will continue to monitor the humanitarian situation in the region and support international humanitarian efforts as required.

More about humanitarian

Research overview

Good research can lead to positive change for the world's poorest by enhancing the design and implementation of development policies and programs. That's why Australian Aid is committed to an innovative research portfolio and funds research, including through:

  • competitive funding mechanisms (such as the Australian Development Research Awards)
  • research partnerships with different Australian, international and developing country research institutions
  • commissioning research to address a specific question or clearly defined research gap
  • one-off research grants, when an existing program of research is relevant to the Australian aid program.

More information on how Australian Aid funds research

Governance & Social Development Resource Centre (UK)

Research from the UK-based Governance and Social Development Resource Centre has provided a strong analytical foundation to expand Australian assistance in the region.

GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report: Effects of the ‘Arab Spring’ on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region

This report assesses the impact of the Arab Spring on the MENA region, drawing on briefings, reports and articles to identify the main issues raised by experts.

Read the report [external website]

GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report: The Arab Spring and its impact on human rights in the MENA region

What is the current human rights situation in the MENA region and how has it changed as a result of the Arab Spring? Who are the risk groups in the region in regards to human rights abuses, with particular focus on ethnic and religious factions?

Read the report [external website]

Governance & Social Development Resource Centre (UK)

Australia commissioned country briefs from GSDRC for the following countries: Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Syria, The Republic of Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen.


heading foldWhy we give aid


The Arab Spring has contributed to widespread conflict and escalating humanitarian crises in the Middle East and North Africa. High unemployment especially among youth, food insecurity, import dependence and rural poverty continue to affect the region’s development.

Find out more about why we give aid to the Middle East & North Africa


heading foldHow we give aid

Australia’s support in the Middle East and North Africa region has expanded rapidly in response to the Arab Spring. Since the 2010–11 financial year Australia has provided significant humanitarian assistance to Libya, Syria and Yemen. Australia is also supporting efforts in Egypt and Tunisia to target food insecurity, rural poverty and youth unemployment.

Find out more about how we give aid to the Middle East & North Africa


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

View progress against Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya and Syria.

volunteers icon


Australia currently sends volunteers to Jordan and Lebanon.


Last reviewed: 18 January, 2014