Inter-institutional development cooperation means collaboration between Finnish public sector institutions and their peer institutions in a developing country. The know-how and capacities of the Finnish public sector, together with the needs of the public sector in a developing country, form the basis of the cooperation. The Institutional Cooperation Instrument (ICI) is used in projects that aim at building capacities of developing countries' state institutions, including ministries, governmental offices, and universities.
There is a separate ICI for the cooperation between higher education institutions. South Africa is participating in the programme, but there are numerous other independent cooperation initiatives between Finnish and South African HEIs in various sectors as listed below.