North Africa Cultural Programme (NACP), Phase 1

Project completed

By developing a Regional Cultural Programme, Switzerland seeks to facilitate intercultural dialogue and exchange as a foundation for peace and conflict sensitive development in North Africa and to foster artistic expression as a driver of change in support to the challenges of transition. This will promote peaceful coexistence, political stability and social cohesion in North Africa, hence providing a contribution to the prevention of violent extremism and alternatives for the fulfillment of North African youth in their own societies.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
North Africa
Culture / development awareness
Conflict & fragility
Culture & recreation
Conflict prevention
15.12.2018 - 31.03.2023
CHF  5’550’000
Background In the transformation of north African societies since 2011, the role of culture as a vector of diversity, opportunities and linkages between communities has become prominent. The arts and culture sector is affected by economic and social hardships as well as by a heritage of censorship and poor governance. Government bodies and private institutions are not sufficiently equipped and funded to effectively support artistic and cultural practitioners, institutions and modes of expression. However, stakeholders in the Arts and Culture display a broad range of talents and innovative approaches and they have the potential to support and realize the creativity of North African artists and to disseminate their visions among young people in the region.
Objectives The overall goal of the NACP is to strengthen intercultural dialogue, solidarity and livelihoods especially among young women and men and empower creative expression as a vehicle for change. Promoting Arts and Culture is an additional way to achieve Switzerland’s objectives in North Africa, in terms on political stability, economic prosperity and migration management by encouraging dialogue and understanding among people in the region as well as preventing violence.
Target groups

The direct beneficiaries are independent, inclusive, arts and culture institutions and organizations, exhibition platforms, spaces, both emerging and established who demonstrate potentially wide outreach and connectivity. Civil society organizations that focus on culture, cultural industry enterprises, academic and training institutions focusing on culture and/or the arts are also eligible beneficiaries.

The end beneficiaries are mainly young / emerging female and male artists and cultural practitioners or technicians working in the production, preservation, and distribution of local artistic works.

Indirect beneficiaries are individuals of all nationalities, age, and gender throughout each of the five countries, neighboring countries and diaspora communities.

Medium-term outcomes

The NACP aims at two regional outcomes :

1) Increased understanding on common regional issues and appreciation of artistic and cultural works through access to joint production and distribution

2) Increased professionalization of arts and culture practices, infrastructure and resources. 

This phase is also expected to provide specific outcomes  in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia :

3) Strengthened capacities of cultural initiatives and spaces in programming and diffusion.

4) Improved access to participation of young artists and professionals in skill‐building and livelihood opportunities


Expected results:  

Joint artistic projects are created regionally

Artistic works and productions are distributed, disseminated and circulated to broad audiences regionally

Data, knowledge and contemporary practices in arts and culture are documented, archived and shared

Regional frameworks and networks for exchanging on arts and culture education and cultural policies are developed

Arts and culture institutions are supported with core Funding

Cultural spaces are supported for increased engagement and outreach programs

Training and skill‐building initiatives for young artists and emerging professionals are strengthened


Results from previous phases:   The NACP is a new project and so far no substantial engagement was undertaken under the Swiss Cooperation programmes in North Africa in the field of culture. Nevertheless projects funded under the limited framework of the small actions or cultural activities implemented within projects in the domains of democratic transition, economic development or migration have shown the relevance of the NACP working hypothesis. Some of them present a good basis for the assessment of the overall feasibility of the project. The experience gathered by AFAC provides as well the relevance of an approach based upon artistic quality as a sound basis to ensure capacity building in a sustainable manner.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
  • Foreign private sector South/East

Coordination with other projects and actors

The NACP will be coordinated with the Swiss Embassies’ or Swiss Cooperation funded small actions schemes to avoid duplication.

Swiss institutions providing support to culture in the region will be consulted and provided opportunities arise, associated to the program (e.g. Pro Helvetia, Drosos).

Other donors such : Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafi), EU Creative Europe Programme, EU Media and Culture for Development in the Southern Mediterranean Region Programme, the British Council, Goethe Institute, Rosa Luxembourg Foundation.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    5’550’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    5’543’511
Project phases Phase 2 01.11.2023 - 31.10.2027   (Current phase)

Phase 1 15.12.2018 - 31.03.2023   (Completed)