Where We Work: Middle East



IESC initiated its operations in Algeria in 2008 as the prime implementing organization for the Trade Capacity building program, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). Under that program IESC supported MEPI’s Economic Pillar for trade, transparency, and investment, and the US Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs' (NEA) goals by supporting political and economic reform for MEPI partner countries. These countries included Algeria, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain and Oman. IESC's work in Algeria focused on meeting the requirements for World Trade Organization (WTO) accession and improving its ranking in the annual World Bank “Doing Business” report.


IESC has implemented USAID projects and provided technical assistance in Azerbaijan. Most recently, through the Rural Enterprise Competitiveness Program with Pragma and USAID, IESC helped client companies develop high value horticultural products such as herbs, medicinal plants, greenhouse crops, and small fruits. IESC also assisted smallholders and cooperatives in improving commercial production practices. IESC partnered with the Ganja Agribusiness Association, a local association on the ground in Azerbaijan, to improve sustainability and implementation success.  As a result of IESC assistance, hundreds of food processing and livestock businesses have improved competitiveness, efficiency, and safety standards. IESC has also provided technical assistance in areas such as agribusiness, livestock safety standards, food processing and cost control.


IESC first began working in Bahrain over twenty years ago with individual technical assistance consultancies and has since implemented projects with USAID and the Bahrain Ministry of Development & Industry. Most recently, IESC worked with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC). In that program IESC provided training,devised export marketing activities, and created inward and outward investment opportunities by way of six sector specific workshops on the subject of export promotion and business development.

IESC also recently completed a two-year Export Trade Training program funded by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), for which IESC was the prime implementing organization through a Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) Leader with Associate award. IESC promoted MEPI’s Economic Pillar for trade, transparency, investment, and economic reform. In the short-term, we contributed to increasing the export potential/capacity of small medium enterprises (SMEs) in Bahrain and Morocco through SME training sessions, targeted technical assistance, and entrepreneurship mentoring.  As the predominant component of ETT, IESC delivered five training modules to improve the knowledge and skills of the SME and entrepreneurial workforce, which helped enable firms to utilize such skills in order to increase exports and create jobs. IESC’s workshops over the course of the program accommodated over 380 participants, including repeat participants that attended more than one training session.


IESC has had a long history in Egypt, implementing six USAID-funded multi-dimensional programs and completing a total of 1,953 technical assistance (TA) consultancies in the country. The Center for Business Support (CBS) program provided business development services to Egyptian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and associations in targeted sectors constituting tourism, ICT, and food processing. The program was a great success, providing TA to 250 hotels and training 440 individuals in the tourism industry in international quality standards. Client outcomes included $33 million in increased sales, $18.5 million in increased exports, and more than 200 jobs created. Prior to CBS was the Global Trade and Technology Network (GTN) program, which facilitated the transfer of US technology and services to Egypt by matching local company’s development needs with US firms equipped to provide the appropriate technological solutions. Most recently, IESC implemented the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)-sponsored Egypt: Forward Initiative in 2011. The Initiative provided a platform for innovative ways for US and Egyptian companies to work together through Egypt’s transitional phase. Hosting a distinguished delegation from Egypt, the project started with a two-day Forum for initial networking, and then followed with site visits throughout the US to meet with and tour the facilities of sector-relevant US companies.


IESC’s activities in Iraq began in 2004. In total, IESC has implemented two full-scale development programs, for which it was the prime implementing organization on one. Most recently, IESC was the lead implementing organization of the USAID funded Private Sector Development Initiative. The objective of the program was to promote the expansion of a private, competitive and efficient private sector in war-torn Iraq. To achieve maximum impact, PSDI provided SMEs in a variety of sectors, including agribusiness, with a customized package of training, technical assistance and grants. As part of the grants component, IESC managed nearly $3 million in procurements for equipment including computers, generators, film making technology, and other items.


IESC’s activities in Israel took place over 30 years ago with a series of technical assistance consultancies funded by individual client contracts as well as under the IESC Technical Assistance Program funded by a USAID Core Grant during the 1980s. In total, IESC has delivered a total of 16 technical assistance consultancies to small and medium enterprises in Israel.


IESC’s efforts in Jordan, which began in 1987, include five full-scale USAID programs and a total of 233 technical assistance consultancies. Most recently, IESC managed the seven-year, $27 million USAID Jordan-US Business Partnership program. Over the life of the program, IESC helped client enterprises generate $68 million in exports to the US and $230 million in exports to other countries, with economic impact amounting to $680 million. Over 9,000 jobs were created or saved and over 150 quality certifications were received.


IESC has implemented four economic development programs in Lebanon, including the USAID Lebanon Investment in Microfinance (LIM) project, which began in 2009 and will run through April 2015. Through the LIM Program, IESC is helping to build the capacity of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and providing capital through grants to create jobs and promote economic growth throughout Lebanon. IESC is also a subpartner to Land O’ Lakes on their Farmer-to-Farmer program. Running from 2014 to 2018, this program will operate in Lebanon and Egypt and work to improve access to finance within targeted agricultural value chains.

Previously, IESC implemented the Accessing International Markets through Information Technology (AIM-IT) program, which achieved buy-ins from Cisco and Microsoft and enhanced the performance of the Lebanese ICT sector. IESC also implemented the $2 million Trade Capacity building program funded by the US Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), for which Lebanon was one of the featured countries. The program’s goal for Lebanon was to support Lebanon in working towards member status from the World Trade Organization (WTO).


Read about IESC's Morocco CDO Support Program

IESC’s activities in Morocco began in 1984 with a series of consultancies delivered as part of the IESC Technical Assistance (TA) Program funded by a global USAID Core Grant. To date, IESC has delivered a total of 303 technical assistance consultancies in Morocco. IESC has also implemented five larger-scale USAID funded programs in Morocco, four of which as the lead implementing organization. IESC currently is implementing the U.S. Department of State Middle East Partnership Initiative-funded Morocco Commercial Development Organizations Support Program. The 19-month program began on September 1, 2012, and is providing demand-driven support through grants and technical assistance to Moroccan trade associations, cooperatives, business development organizations and Chambers of Commerce. Under this project, IESC is working to increase the technical and organizational capacity of these organizations to facilitate members’ access to capital; work with government institutions to promote job creation and an improved business climate; and enable an increase in exports by their members.


Since IESC began assisting Tunisian small medium enterprises over 30 years ago, IESC has implemented a total of 123 short term  technical consultancies and five USAID programs in Tunisia. IESC has worked to improve competitiveness in a variety of value chains including agribusiness, textiles, apparel, health, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food processing, plastics, electronics, automotive, manufacturing, furniture, microcredit, and tourism. Recently, as the prime implementing organization of the Global Technology Network program, IESC facilitated the transfer of US technology and services to local companies in Tunisia through the establishment of business linkages with US and regional companies. IESC brought ten US ICT firms to Tunisia on business development missions under that project and arranged matchmaking meetings with Tunisian firms. In just two years within the region (Asia & Near East), IESC facilitated a total of 1510 business linkages and completed thirty-two transactions in the region for $3.7 million.


Since beginning activities in Turkey nearly 40 years ago, IESC has implemented three USAID programs and 617 technical assistance consultancies in the country. IESC experts have worked in a variety of value chains including construction, real estate, retail, food processing, agribusiness, water, energy, financial services, marketing, chemicals, textiles, light manufacturing, and heavy industry. Most recently, IESC facilitated the development of mutually beneficial joint ventures between companies in Turkey and US partners. Among many program successes, IESC fostered a $40 million joint venture between a large Turkish holding company and a US partner specializing in HVAC.

West Bank/Gaza

IESC has implemented two technical assistance programs under USAID Core Grants in the West Bank, with the objective of increasing employment, income, and productivity of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).


IESC has delivered 26 technical assistance consultancies in Yemen in a variety of sectors including agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, electronics, automotive, and tourism and hospitality, IESC also implemented broader training programs in trade and competitiveness, and financial services. As the prime implementing organization for the USAID Trade and Investment Services (TIS) programs in Yemen and other countries worldwide, IESC worked to strengthen the private sector and encouraged exports and private investors by providing business linkage services and market information studies.