Institutional strengthening in Egyptian development aid projects

M.M. Walbeek, W.F. Vlotman

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademic


In recent years Dutch aid projects have focused more on institutional strengthening. The overall impact of this type of aid has been limited. This paper explores possible reasons for this. In Egypt, it appeared to be difficult to make significant changes in the institutional setting. Main constraints were the low salaries, recruitment and personnel policies and the organisational culture within the government. Another factor that may have played a role is inadequate recognition of cultural backgrounds of the international consultants advising in Egypt. This is explored using Hofstede¿s and Trompenaar¿s typologies of culture and their effects on management. Maslow¿s Hierarchy of Needs, as applied to the environment of institutional strengthening, is also considered. Adjusting an organisational culture to improve efficiency and sustainability of the organisation is a long and difficult process and should not be seen as an extension of tradition technical assistance aid projects, but rather it should be implemented as a dedicated long-term project. A major finding is that short-term consultancies may only be effective for idea generation, and not as instruments for implementing change management. Managerial capacity building should be a long-term activity with gradual change, particularly in government settings. Recognition of organisation culture in light of trans-national cultural typologies by Hofstede and Trompenaars, as well as, acceptance of the most pressing needs of the target group as the responsibility of one and the same financing agency are found lacking in traditional Development Aid.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • drainage
  • project implementation
  • development projects
  • international cooperation
  • netherlands
  • egypt

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