The setting up of the ITEC programme was predicated on the underlying belief that “…it was necessary to establish relations of mutual concern and inter-dependence based not only on commonly held ideals and aspirations, but also on solid economic foundations”. Technical and economic cooperation was considered to be one of the essential functions of an integrated and imaginative foreign policy.

The ITEC Programme is essentially bilateral in nature. However, in recent years, ITEC resources have also been used for cooperation programmes conceived in regional and inter-regional context such as the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Economic Commission for Africa, UNIDO, Group of 77 and G-15. In more recent years, its activities have also been associated with regional and multilateral organisations and cooperation groupings.