Finland's support to the South African anti-apartheid movement was transformed into development cooperation in 1995. The objective was to assist South Africa's efforts in building a socially and economically more inclusive and equal society.
Since then more than 80 million Euros worth of bilateral programmes using a wide range of Finnish development cooperation instruments have been carried out. South African institutions are responsible for the implementation of the programmes, with Finnish support adding value by building capacity and enhancing effectiveness. South African systems are used whenever possible.
Currently a wide range of development cooperation instruments are used: bilateral cooperation, trilateral cooperation, support to civil society organisations, as well as partnerships between Finnish and South African businesses, universities, institutions, municipalities and other organisations. The creation of synergies between instruments is encouraged.
In line with a Declaration of Intent on Deepening Bilateral Relations and Strengthening Partnerships signed in 2009, grant-based bilateral cooperation has been phased-out and focus has turned to building sustainable partnerships and working together on the African continent.