Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGCS)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Piazzale della Farnesina, 1
I-00135 Rome
Tel.: +39 0636911
E‐mail: segr‐co@cert.esteri.it
Website: http://www.esteri.it/MAE/EN/Ministero/Contatti/


General information on development cooperation

The Law 125/2014 reformed the Italian Development Cooperation and established a new institutional and governance framework. The Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGCS) within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is responsible for policy making and strategic planning, as well as for supervision and evaluation of development cooperation initiatives. The Law established the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation - under control and supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation –which is responsible for all operational and technical aspects related to projects’ appraisal, formulation, funding, management, implementation, and monitoring. The Agency pools all available financial resources coming from the Government budget and from other public administrations, as well as from public and private entities, contributions of philanthropic organizations and donations. 

The Law also established a development finance institution – Cassa Depositi e Prestiti - that provides funding for development and investments promoting development. Cassa Depositi e Prestiti collects a broad range of private savings in Italy and is State owned and guaranteed. It is recognized by the Law as an institution that can provide, also in partnership with other foreign agencies or banks, concessional loans to States, Central Banks or Public Administrations as well as to international financial organizations. Moreover, this institution operates as financial advisor of the Italian Development cooperation system, manages the Italian Soft Loans and may allocate its own resources or co-finance development initiatives with private, public or international entities. Based on the belief that the private sector is a key driver of employment, growth, and investment, the Law provides the instruments to support and promote an active role of the private sector in achieving poverty eradication and sustainable development. To encourage the private sector involvement the Law system provides concessional loans and public guarantees for joint ventures in OCDE Development countries. For the private sector inclusion, special attention is attached to promote PMI and sectors identified according to the 2030 Agenda.

Aid for Trade Strategy

The Three-Year Strategic Plan defines the development cooperation strategy for all activities to be implemented by Governmental Institutions, Regions and local entities, CSOs and other concerned stakeholders. The Plan identifies priority sectors of intervention and countries in the reference period.

The Plan for the 2016-2018 period considers AfT as one of the key elements for the inclusive and sustainable development of the private sector, which is one of the Italian development cooperation priorities, with a particular focus on SME development. In the same three-year period, Official Development Assistance (ODA) will be allocated in the following regions:

  • 39 %: Sub-Saharan countries
  • 35 %: Mediterranean countries
  • 17 %: Asia
  • 9 %: Latin America


Principal official agency responsible for TCB assistance to developing countries

Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGCS)
Contact details

Tel: +39 0636911

E-mail: segr-co [at] cert.esteri.it

Physical Address
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Piazzale della Farnesina,
1 - 00135 Rome - Italy

Other offical and NON-governmental organizations involved

Centro di Studio per l’Applicazione dell’Informatica in Agricoltura (CeSIA)
Contact details

Tel.: +39-55-3033711

Fax.: +39-55-308910

E-mail: cesia [at] ibimet.cnr.it

Physical Address
Via Giovanni Caproni, 8
50145 Firenze (Italy)

Centro di Studio per l’Applicazione dell’Informatica in Agricoltura (CeSIA): the Center’s aim is to develop research in computer skills targeted at the agri-food and forestry sectors. Its activities are focused on developing technology tools for the design, creation, and updating of GIS-oriented databases, and the development of operational programmes for the protection and management of agroforestry and eco-environmental analysis using GIS and remote sensing. Since its establishment, the Center has been actively involved in several European Union research projects. It also aims at developing initiatives and training opportunities for practitioners and researchers in the environment and land planning sectors, and at promoting international efforts to encourage the creation of a European network of knowledge in these areas.

Federation of Italian Exporters and Importers (FIEI)
Contact details

E-mail: fieitalia [at] gmail.com ()

Physical Address
Aventino 36, 00153 Roma, Italy

Federation of Italian Exporters and Importers (FIEI): FIEI promotes the expansion of Italian companies in foreign markets, representing their interests since 1980. It offers and coordinates import–export services through its ten affiliated Export-Import Associations. It also publishes a monthly international market journal and magazines, carrying out studies and research in the area of foreign trade and markets, and it runs an Import Promotion Desk.

Istituto di Servizi per il Mercato Agricolo Alimentare (Ismea)
Contact details

Tel: + 39 06 85568-319/06 85568-260
Fax: +39 06 23329-243
E-mail: urp [at] ismea.it

Physical Address
Viale Liegi, 26 – 00198, Rome, Italy

Istituto di Servizi per il Mercato Agricolo Alimentare (Ismea): Ismea was set up by a decree in 1999. It aims at supporting the development of the Italian agricultural sector. Various activities previously carried out by different public entities were streamlined and integrated under it. According to the decree, the institution’s main task is to offer financial, insurance and information services to agricultural companies in order to: (i) increase their competitiveness and reduce their risks; (ii) facilitate their relations with banks, insurance companies and markets; and (iii) improve market transparency and information sharing.

Italian Export Credit Agency (SACE)
Contact details

Tel: + 39 06 67361
Fax: + 39 06 6736225
E-mail: info [at] sace.it

Physical Address
Piazza Poli, 37 /42 - 00187 Rome, Italy

Italian Export Credit Agency (SACE): SACE is aimed to help companies in developing foreign business and investments through insurance cover. Formerly an Italian governmental agency, SACE S.p.A. was converted in 2004 into a private corporate entity and incorporated in the Cassa Depositi and Prestiti Group, a financial institution controlled by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Italian Trade Commission

Italian Trade Commission (I.C.E. Istituto Nazionale per il Commercio Estero), is a governmental agency entrusted with promoting trade, business opportunities and industrial cooperation between Italian and foreign companies. It supports the internationalization of Italian firms and their consolidation in foreign markets, and it provides information and assistance to all those foreign companies that wish to develop business with their Italian counterparts. In particular, it provides: (i) the Italian economic outlook (an overview of the fundamentals of the Italian economy) and information on Italian foreign trade and national trade policies; (ii) up-to-date information on Italian laws and regulations to attract foreign investments and give assistance to foreign investors; and (iii) a specialized website dedicated to the major sectors of Italian production. It houses an official directory of Italian companies, which is accessible both by sector and geographical market of interest and gathers offers and requests coming from foreign companies interested in developing business with Italian partners. All submitted requests and offers are stored in a database that can be accessed by sector and market, enabling Italian companies to consider the various proposals.

Foreign companies can also find details of trade fairs and exhibitions held in Italy throughout the year.

National Institute of Statistics (Istat)
Contact details

Tel: +39 06 4673 1

E- mail: comunica [at] istat.it ()

Physical Address
Via Cesare Balbo, 16 – 00184 Rome, Italy

National Institute of Statistics (Istat): Istat collects and produces data on the Italian economy and Society, making them available for study and decision-making purposes. A public research body acting in full autonomy, Istat is governed by a president and a board of directors who plan and evaluate its activities. It is very active in international cooperation projects, aiming at strengthening the statistical capacity of transition and developing countries and supporting candidate countries in lining up with the standards of the European Statistical System. At present, Istat’s technical assistance is addressed primarily to the Balkans, the Newly Independent States, EU Candidate Countries and Mediterranean countries, but it also cooperates with countries in Africa (Cape Verde and Mozambique), Latin America and China. The results of these programs are a learning tool for institutional users, businesses, and associations engaged in or interested in these areas.

Contact details

Tel: +39 06 68635 1

Fax +39 06 68635.220

E-mail: simest [at] legalmail.it ()

Physical Address
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
323 - 00186 Rome, Italy

SIMEST is a finance institution which promotes direct investment by Italian companies outside the European Union. It provides technical and financial support to projects and public support to the international development of the Italian economy. SIMEST is controlled by SACE and is a company of the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Group.

TCB cooperation initiatives with UN/international agencies and bilateral partners

Italy’s main form of collaboration with UN/international agencies is based on financial agreements with relevant agencies. The financing mechanism is based on grants. Data collection and reporting are based on reports from the implementation agency or from the Italian embassy/cooperation offices network. Monitoring and evaluation reports are obtained from the implementation agency, reports from the Italian embassy/cooperation offices network and monitoring and evaluation missions from headquarters.

Selected TCB programmes and initiatives in this guide

Training projects in South Africa, Tunisia and Egypt
Programme to counter irregular migration through the development of the private sector - Senegal
Improving the sustainability and inclusiveness of the Ethiopian coffee value chain through private and public partnership - Ethiopia
Technical assistance programme for the improvement of leather industry in Ethiopia – second phase - Ethiopia
Improving supply of safe and quality livestock and meat exported from Horn of Africa to the Middle East and Gulf countries- Ethiopia
UNIDO “From cotton seeds to clothing: enhancing the sustainability, inclusiveness and value addition of the cotton value chain in Egypt” (750’000 Euros)
CHIEAM “Master Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Lebanese Coast” (490’531 Euros)
CHIEAM “Strengthening and promotion of the quality olive oil sector in Lebanon - The oil of Lebanon III” (1’000’000 Euros)
UNIDO “Supporting the development of selected agro-food value chains” (500’000 Euros)
ILO “Improved and market-based provision of vocational training for Lebanese and refugees” (500’000 Euros)
Capacity building to the ODS (Office Dévéloppement Sud) for investment promotion, technological upgrading and trade capacity of South Tunisian SMEs – Tunisia
Italian Assistance to the Agrarian Reform Community Development Support Program - The Philippines (26,2 million Euro, soft loan)
Gender mainstreaming programmes in Afghanistan, Albania, Ethiopia, Palestine, Senegal, MENA Region, Lebanon, Egypt, and Tunisia