General information on development cooperation

On December 2012 the IV Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2013-16 was approved by the Spanish government. The Master Plan is Spain’s main programming document and sets out Spanish international cooperation guidelines for the next four years.

According to the IV Master Plan, Spanish cooperation’s ultimate goals are to (i) contribute to human development; (ii) to reduce poverty; and (iii) to ensure full implementation of these rights. To attain these goals, the guidelines for Spanish cooperation for the next four years involve the following issues:

  • Consolidating democratic processes and the rule of law;
  • Reducing inequalities and vulnerability to extreme poverty and crisis;
  • Promoting economic opportunities for the poor;
  • Promoting social cohesion systems, with special focus on basic social services;
  • Promoting women’s rights and gender equality;
  • Improving the provision of global and regional public goods;
  • Responding to humanitarian crises; and
  • Building a global citizenship committed to development.

The Master Plan aims at driving the process of an increasing specialization of Spanish cooperation over the next four years, trying to build a different balance, and accelerates the decision-making process:

  • In the first place, efforts will be focused and concentrated on the geographic areas where Spanish cooperation work demonstrates added value while promoting results-oriented development cooperation. There will be efforts towards multilateral concentration and alliances with other donors and key stakeholders in Spanish cooperation will be encouraged. The goal is to work together and to take advantage of synergies.
  • Cooperation will focus on institutional capacity building and knowledge transfer, particularly among middle-income countries.
  • Resource mobilization for development will be intensified, based on the Monterrey Consensus and its forthcoming Review Conference.
  • Finally, to be able to address new challenges more effectively, it is of vital importance to begin restructuring Spanish cooperation as a whole.


Aid for Trade Strategy

The Government is aligned with the EU Aid for Trade Strategy and has, since the WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2005, focused its attention on the need for increased assistance to the trade-related capacity building. The Government ensures a greater integration of AfT activities in its bilateral aid with the private sector as its key player. Meanwhile, it is working on integrating two principles into its AfT activities: (i) pro-poor growth and respect for the principles of the Paris Declaration; and (ii) activities to be demand-driven and private sector-oriented. The major recipients of Spanish aid are the least developed countries (LDCs), but Spain also provides AfT to middle-income countries.


The Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation (2013-16) includes AfT as a priority within its third pillar, “Promoting economic opportunities for the poor.” Spanish cooperation is committed to promoting the integration of partner countries into the international economy through trade policies, capacity building, South–South economic integration and responsible foreign direct investment. Trade capacity in developing countries will be improved through AfT.

The new Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation (2017-2020) is currently under preparation.

Despite the lack of an explicit policy, in practice Spain does use ODA to mobilize other resources for sustainable development (OECD, 2015b):

“It promotes aid for trade to improve developing countries’ trade performance and help them become an integral part of the global economy. It committed 21% of its sector‐allocable ODA to trade‐related activities in 2013. The 21% share translates into USD 96 million – a 7% increase in real terms from 2012, the first increase in real terms since 2010.”


Beyond the numerical approach using OECD/DAC markers, it is also important to point out the work carried out from the Policy Coherence for Development Unit, which is achieving greater influence of the development agenda on non-ODA economic and commercial policy, reinforcing their contribution to the promotion of sustainable human development.


Principal official agency responsible for TCB assistance to developing countries

The General Secretariat of International Cooperation for Development
Physical Address
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation C/ Serrano Galvache,
26 Torre Norte 1ª planta 28071 Madrid, Spain

The General Secretariat of International Cooperation for Development assists the Secretary of State for International Cooperation and Latin America in the development, management, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of international cooperation policy for development.

Responsibilities of the Secretariat include, among others, the development of the Master Plan and Annual Plans of Spanish International Cooperation, the elaboration and monitoring in accordance with international principles of aid effectiveness of horizontal and sectoral development policies and bilateral and multilateral strategies, Spanish ODA follow up tasks and data communication to OECD/CAD, as well as the evaluation of international cooperation activities and projects financed by the Spanish Government.

The State Secretariat for Commerce
Contact details

Tel: +34 91 3493656

Physical Address
General Directorate for International Trade and Investment
Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness
Paseo de la Castellana, 162 ,
28046 Madrid, Spain

The State Secretariat for Commerce, through the General Directorate for International Trade and Investment defines, develops and executes the trade policy of the State, in what refers to the external trade, including foreign investment, foreign transactions, and advocacy and internationalization of Spanish companies.

For more information: http://www.comercio.gob.es/es-ES/Paginas/default.aspx

Other government and official agencies with responsibilities directly relevant to TCB

Compañía Española de Financiación del Desarrollo, COFIDES
Contact details

Tel: +34 91 562 6008

+34 91 745 4480

Fax: +34 91 561 0015

E-mail: cofides [at] cofides.es

Physical Address
C/ Príncipe de Vergara,
132 28002 Madrid, Spain

Compañía Española de Financiación del Desarrollo, COFIDES S.A., S.M.E., is a joint state and privately owned company founded in 1988 that provides cost-effective, medium and long-term financial support for viable private investment projects in foreign countries where there is a Spanish interest. The ultimate aim is to contribute, with profitability criteria to host country development as well as to the internationalization of Spanish enterprises and the Spanish economy. In order to meet this dual goal, COFIDES uses its resources to finance investment projects located in emerging or developing countries, and it also manages on behalf of the State (State Secretariat for Trade, within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness) the FIEX and FONPYME Funds, created to finance investment projects abroad regardless of the development level of the host country of the project. COFIDES’ total financing capacity is about €2.5bn. The activity of COFIDES, as a private-public concern, complements with additionality criteria the resources offered by the market and those provided by investors of the projects themselves. COFIDES always acts on a shared risk basis under which the private investor and COFIDES jointly provide a specified volume of resources for an investment linked to a project. Through the financial products offered, the Company is in a position to invest in principle, between €75,000 euros and €30m per project.

COFIDES’ share capital with ICEX Spain Trade and Investment, Instituto de Crédito Oficial - Official Credit Institute- (ICO), Empresa Nacional de Innovación (ENISA), Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Banco Santander, Banco de Sabadell, Banco Popular and CAF-Development Bank of Latin America. 53% of COFIDES share capital is held by the first three public institutions.

ICEX Spain Trade and Investment
Contact details

Tel: +34 91 349 61 00

Physical Address
Pº de la Castellana 278 28046 Madrid, Spain

ICEX Spain Trade and Investment , part of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness and supports Spanish companies by promoting their exports and facilitating their international expansion. For this purpose, it has its own financial, material and human resources. To effectively meet its objectives, ICEX is assisted by the network of Spanish Economic and Commercial Offices (Red de Oficinas Económicas y Comerciales de las Embajadas de España en el Exterior) abroad and, within Spain, by the Regional and Territorial Trade Directorates. Its main activities are to: (i) design and carry out commercial promotion and investment programmes in foreign markets; (ii) prepare and provide information on international markets and the Spanish products offered; and (iii) promote the teaching of technical skills to business people and the training of professionals in foreign trade. (See: “Master in International Corporate Management” (Centre for Economic and Commercial Studies, CECO)).

Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO)
Contact details

Tel.: +34 91 592 16 00

Contact form: http://www.ico.es/web/ico_en/contact-english

Physical Address
Paseo del Prado, 4 28014 Madrid, Spain

ICO is a state-owned corporate bank attached to the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness through the Secretariat of State for Economy and Business Support. It has the status of the State Financial Agency of Spain. Its functions are to promote economic activities contributing to growth, the development of the country and improving the distribution of the national wealth. Particularly, those activities of a social, cultural, environmental or innovative significance are awarded special attention.

As a State-Owned Bank, ICO provides loans to fund company investment and liquidity operations inside and outside of Spain, and acts in two ways:

  • Second-floor facilities: ICO designs and sets the main characteristics of the different lines of credit, as well as signing the corresponding Collaboration Agreements with the Credit Institutions for them to be sold through their networks. These lines are mainly directed at the self-employed and small and medium-sized companies. ICO determines the amounts of each line of credit, the purpose of the loans, the interest rates and repayment terms, and provides funds to financial institutions. The latter are in charge of analyzing operations, deciding the guarantees that must be provided, deciding on the approval of funding and assuming the risks involved.
  • Direct funding: this is corporate structured finance for large projects involving productive, public or private investment. It is provided through are loans designed to match the applicant company's needs, with a minimum amount of €10 million and long repayment terms. To apply for these loans companies go to ICO directly, who study, grant and take on the risk of the operations concerned. Funding is granted preferably in collaboration with private or public entities, whether national, international or multilateral.


As a State Finance Agency: ICO manages the official funding instruments that the Spanish State provides for encouraging exports and development aid, with the State compensating ICO for any costs these processes may entail. This type also includes ICO funding, on express instructions from the Government, for those affected by natural disasters, environmental disasters and other events of general interest. For these types of operations, ICO does not take on the risk and therefore acts only after public funds have been provided and/or through compensation of interest rate differentials.

International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP)
Contact details

Tel: +34 91 591 46 00

Email: fiiapp [at] fiiapp.org

Physical Address
c/ Beatriz de Bobadilla
18 28040 Madrid, Spain

FIIAPP is an instrument of a foundational nature for external action in international development for democratic governance and institutional strengthening. It operates in the heart of and at the service of the public sector, mobilizing, internationally, the know-how of public officials and the best practices of the Spanish public administrations as a whole. FIIAPP was created in 1997 to manage cooperation projects for governance, financed with Spanish bilateral funds, mainly from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), and multilateral funds, mostly from the European Commission, and to promote the participation of the Spanish administration in these. It also has various training programs for political and social leaders, offers public technical assistance for state reforms and the updating of public administrations in Europe and the Mediterranean, Africa, Latin America and Asia, and sponsors research for strengthening institutions and promoting democratic governance

Spanish Association for Standardization and Certification (AENOR)
Contact details

Tel.: +34 914 326 000

Email: info [at] aenor.es

Physical Address
C/ Génova, 6
28004 Madrid, Spain

Spanish Association for Standardization and Certification (AENOR): is the Spanish Association for Standardization and Certification. It is a private, independent, non-profit Spanish organization, recognized nationally, in Europe, and internationally. Its aim is to contribute to the improvement of the quality and competitiveness of companies in their products and services, and to environmental protection and consequently to the well-being of society through the development, to which it is dedicated, of standardization and certification (S + C) activities in all industrial and service sectors.

It was designated to carry out these activities by Order of the Ministry of Industry and Energy on 26 February 1986 in accordance with Royal Decree 1614/1985 and recognized as a standardization body and to act as a certification body by Royal Decree 2200/1995, promulgated by Industrial Law 21/1992. Its presence at international forums, both European and American, guarantees Spanish participation in the development of standardization and the international recognition of AENOR certification.

Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organizations, Confederación Española de Organizaciones Empresariales (CEOE)
Contact details

Tel: +34 915663400; 902884403

Email: ceoe [at] ceoe.es

Physical Address
C/ Diego de León, 50 28006 Madrid, Spain

Established in 1977, the Spanish Confederation of Employers' Organizations (CEOE) brings together, on a voluntary basis, two million companies and self-employed entrepreneurs from all activity sectors, which are linked to CEOE through more than 4,000 base associations.

The Confederation directly brings together 200 territorial and sectoral organizations. Enterprises are therefore represented two-fold, through the industry to which they belong and by the region in which they operate.

Small and medium-sized enterprises are represented by CEPYME, the Spanish Confederation of Small & Medium- Sized Enterprises, which is also affiliated to CEOE, as is the Spanish Federation of Self-employed Entrepreneurs (CEAT).

It is a member of Business Europe

The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)
Contact details

Tel: +34 91 583 8100; +34 91 583 8101/02

Fax: +34 91 583 8310/11/13; +34 91 583 8564

Physical Address
Avda. Reyes Católicos,
4 E-28040 Madrid, Spain

AECID is a semi-autonomous aid agency attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation through the State Secretariat for International Cooperation (SECI). AECID was established by Law 23/1998, of July 7, with the objective of promoting, managing and implementing the Government of Spain’s international development cooperation. The fight against poverty is the ultimate objective of the Spanish policy of international cooperation for development. This is part of Spain’s foreign policy and is based on a conception of the interdependence and solidarity of international society. The Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set an agenda and a common methodology in the fight against poverty and are therefore the main references for Spanish international cooperation policy.

AECID manages the Fondo para la Concesión de Microcréditos (FCM) (Microfinance Fund for Basic Social Development Projects Abroad): FCM is a specialized microfinance fund, created in 1998 by the Spanish Government. It is the Spanish cooperation instrument aimed at promoting microfinance in developing countries as a tool for fighting poverty. FCM’s financial resources are allocated annually in Spain’s General State Budget Law. It also receives repayment of the loans and credits granted, plus interest and commissions and, in some cases, the yields generated by asset operation.

Other offical and NON-governmental organizations involved

Centre of Research and Cooperation for Development (CIDEAL)
Contact details

Tel: +34 91 553 84 88 / 91 554 64 02

Fax: +34 91 598 51 80

Email: cideal [at] cideal.org

Physical Address
C/ Blasco de Garay, 94. 28003 Madrid, Spain

CIDEAL is a foundation that has been working for over twenty years in research, training and technical assistance in development cooperation and has vast experience in the execution of development programs and projects in Southern countries. Created in Madrid in 1983, it currently counts on local offices and experts in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East. As a research center, it teaches postgraduate programs and many monographic courses, seminars and workshops. From an economic and political standpoint, CIDEAL is an independent organization that encourages professional excellence and draws on experts from different ideologies. It was developed by professional researchers and professors from different European and Latin American countries and has, since its establishment, cooperated with the European Commission and successive Spanish governments, as well as with many public and private institutions of different kinds and orientations.

ETEA Foundation for Development and Cooperation
Contact details

Tel: +34 957 222 164

Email: info [at] fundacionetea.org

Physical Address
Fundación ETEA para el Desarrollo y la Cooperación C/ Escritor Castilla Aguayo
4 - 14004 Córdoba, Spain

The ETEA Foundation is a university center working in research, training and action related to the field of development and cooperation. Created in 2002, it inherited the experience in development and cooperation activities of ETEA, the University Institution of the Society of Jesus in Córdoba, Spain. The ETEA Foundation´s principles for development and cooperation are:

  • analyzing and acting on the critical factors pertaining to development at local and global levels;
  • contributing to the strengthening of the system in order to aid development and improve the quality of cooperation;
  • contributing to the creation of human capital and the strengthening of academia in the South; and
  • giving priority to development and cooperation with Northern universities in the field of teaching and research.

Besides, there are two centres dedicated to research in development issues, which have been created to support the activities of the ETEA Foundation and other partner institutions que: The Institute of Studies for Equality and the Spanish Institute of Central American Studies (IDECA), with offices in España, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Selected TCB programmes and initiatives in this guide

The Interamerican micro-enterprise forum
Promotion of southern cone cooperative movements as social inclusion tools and decent work instrument and as agents of development
WTO Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund
Projects within the framework of MERCOSUR permanent regional observatory of productive integration
Development of aquaculture activities in the Fonseca Gulf - Honduras
The cooperative enterprise as a social economy actor towards social and economic development in the Mediterranean
Other projects
Assistance to the business association of vegetable export producers - Ethiopia
Internship for Latin-American harbour professionals – Latin America
Spain-IIC Haiti SME Development Fund
The Ibero-American Programme for Science, Technology and Development (CYTED)
Spain NEPAD Fund
Strengthening institutional and gender perspective in Mercosur - Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay
Support for new income-generating ideas and support for the establishment of development centers - Cambodia, East Timorese and Vietnam
TCB cooperation initiatives with UN/international agencies and bilateral partners

UNIDO’s Industrial Knowledge Bank (BCI) in Latin America and Caribbean countries

The Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID) provided support to UNIDO’s Industrial Knowledge Bank (BCI). The project aims to promote industrial development in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) countries, contributing to production and industry integration process and facilitating the exchange of knowledge and best practices for LAC countries.

For more information: