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Promoting African expertise and governance networks: the Africa Governance Institute - IAG

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs supports the Africa Governance Institute (Dakar) initiated by the UNDP since it was first founded in 2005.

The IAG’s objective is to set up a pan-African excellence centre to promote an African outlook on governance, develop capacity and ensure representation for the variety of expertise existent on public affairs management in Africa. The Institute is a place where African governance players can connect and share experiences, with a view toward building the African Union’s governance agenda.

Supporting dialogue with stakeholders. Governance pathways: dialogue initiatives about governance in AfricaThe Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs provides its support to a series of conferences on governance, jointly organised by the Alliance for Refounding Governance in Africa, the Commission of the African Union and the Institute for a New Debate on Governance (IRG). The process first began in 2005, in Addis Abeba, in the African Union, and will come to an end in 2009, in the same place, once all five of the continent’s regions have been consulted. It institutes a framework for dialogue between different players (African, non-African, Northern and Southern), from all socio-professional backgrounds, with a view toward developing proposals for refounding the public arena in Africa, at every level (local, national, regional, continental). This far-reaching thinking process is aimed at fostering the emergence of critical mass at the African level and innovative components for better understanding the theme, as well as for putting forth new proposals for an alternative governance project, suited to Africa’s socio-cultural environments, and intended for all players, public or private, national or supra-national.

To this end, the Forum held in Bamako in January 2007 on the topic, “Between Tradition and Modernity: Which Governance Project for Africa?” brought together academics and leaders, both customary and religious, with traditional knowledge regarding analysis of governance in Western Africa, from the ante-Islamic times to today, Arab-Muslim and European influences and the current crises in governance. The aim was to uncover approaches and analyses of governance anchored in experiences and knowledge of African society in order to cope with the challenges of today.

The Africa Governance Institute and Alliance for Refounding Governance in Africa will be involved in this initiative, consisting of series of dialogues. France’s support will contribute to building up the French-language networks on the debate about refounding the State in Africa. The partnership with the Commission of the African Union will be directly involved in developing and implementing the African Union’s governance agenda and will contribute to building up the presence of African players in international debate about governance.

Supporting the African Peer Review Mechanism - APRM

The African Peer Review Mechanism - APRM is an innovative mechanism which African Union countries may enter on a voluntary basis, in order to assess their public policies in the four following areas: democracy and political governance, economic governance, corporate governance and socio-economic development. This review process, submitted to further peer review during summits of African heads of State, initiate a mutual learning and reform process with the national action plan, in which the State commits to remedying the weaknesses identified.

The APRM is consistent with the approaches and main thrusts developed in France’s governance strategy on cooperation (CICID 2006). For it is both an assessment checklist and a governance process (improving public policies, dialogue and interaction between all players in society). In reconciling regional and international reference standards, the aim is not to draw up rankings, but to take stock of the progress achieved in each country’s efforts, taking into account the specific social and historical background.

As at the end of 2007, 27 countries had entered the APRM. The process has actually been launched in 14 countries. Five of them have officially completed the process, submitting their report and action plan before the Forum of Heads of State and Government: Ghana in January 2006, Rwanda and Kenya in June 2006, and Algeria and South Africa in July 2007.

In keeping with the concept of strengthening governing principles and fostering ownership thereof, France has demonstrated, on several occasions and in particular as part of the G8, its political support for the Mechanism, 62% of which is funded by the participating African countries.

ARPM site: www.nepad.org/aprm/

Promoting training in European Affairs

French Cooperation supports capacity-building for the administrations of new Member States, States applying for membership or conducting a European neighbourhood policy, through training in European Affairs, carried out in partnership with reputed institutions (ENA, European Studies Centre in Strasbourg, the Maastricht Institute of Administration Studies, the International Organisation of Francophonie). This training is provided preferably in the French language, with a view toward promoting French-language training and France’s conception of the European Union within the said institutions.

The training programmes are developed in response to specific requests from the future beneficiaries, which already have an excellent understanding of European institutions, but are faced with specific issues as a result of their new functions, such as the Commission’s negotiation process with NGOs or civil society.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs also offers training in the European Union’s working procedures and strategies to civil servants in Asia, the North Africa region and the Middle East. Each year, it holds a regional seminar in a different Asian country about State modernisation, attended by representatives of administrations from some twenty countries in the region. In 2006, for instance, China hosted an event about “Decentralisation/Deconcentration, an Essential Process in State Modernisation”. In 2007, at the conference held in India, the focus was on “e-administration”. In 2008, the event will take place in Bangkok.

Supporting Ghana’s National Reform Programme

Public sector reform is a priority for Ghana’s government, which instituted a fully-operational Ministry dedicated to this issue, in 2005. With this in mind, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is conducting a project in the amount of EUR 1.5 million, which is aimed at improving the level of public service provided to the populations, one-third of which is dedicated to civil servant salaries. This project, carried out in partnership with the National Directorate on State Modernisation, the National School of the Treasury, the Economic and Financial General Comptroller, ENA and IRA (in Metz), is structured around capacity-building for State civil servants, support for human resources management and the reform of public subsidised institutions.

The aim is to strengthen initial and continuing training for high civil servants, in particular through support for national training programmes and a language laboratory at GIMPA, an Institute of Management and Public Administration, as well as improvement efforts for the Ministry of Finance’s School of Finance.

As regards change management and the modernisation of the central administration’s GRH, France supports of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service which is steering the reform, by building up its statistical tools, developing a reference base on typical jobs and professions in civil service, and support for the institutions of a Forward-Looking Management of Jobs and Skills tool (GPEEC).

As for the reform of public subsidised bodies, it provides general support for the methodology for reform and financial and budget management. This project aspires to trigger a leverage effect on the overall reform project on the Ghanaian State, carried out in partnership with other donors.

Capacity-building in public institutions through e-administration

France, which has recognised expertise in this area through its programme ADELE, carries out capacity-building initiatives in e-administration, a major opportunity to boost the effectiveness and accessibility of the public services toward the citizens. The National Directorate on the Modernisation of the State (DGME) responsible for the ADELE programme is the prime partner to French Cooperation, which also involves certain local initiatives which develop local innovative programmes, as well as universities that teach law relating to electronic administration. The objective is so to spread knowledge about French experience with regard to its technical programmes, at the federal, regional and local levels. For European countries on the brink of accession, France supports work to bring the administrations up to European standards. Above and beyond the technical aspects, French Cooperation is aimed also at facilitating ownership of the tools from the angle of reorganising work methods. For instance, it takes into consideration societal aspects and their expression in legal terms with regard to universal access to information and public services. The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has aspirations to set up an international network including all of the players involved in the national electronic administration programmes. For instance, it has created a Web site dedicated to enabling exchange between the aforementioned players, and setting up a database on the technical plans and legal texts of the countries involved.

Supporting deconcentration and decentralisation in Mauritania (PADDEM 2)

The Project to Support Deconcentration and Decentralisation Support in Mauritania is aimed at contributing to municipal and regional development through: - building resources and management capacities in the municipalities - improved access to public services for the populations - consolidation of local democracy and support for local initiatives - reinforcement of deconcentrated services in charge of advising the municipalities and ensuring oversight for the actions - the institution of coordinated and decentralised planning of State initiatives and partners in development at the regional level. PADDEM develops its initiatives as a complement to the project supporting local development for the municipalities in Southern Assaba (Mauritania). This programme, under the United Nations Equipment Fund (UNEF) to which the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs contributes, is aimed at better tying together relations between civil society and the local powers.

Supporting the modernisation of the Ukraine civil service

A cooperation agreement has been signed between the French and Ukrainian civil services, which is deployed around a programme to support the modernisation of the civil service.

In partnership with the National Directorate on Administration and Civil Service (DGAFP), the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is performing an audit of the legislation regarding the civil service and provides expertise regarding how to simplify the matrix of professions and career management. In particular, the aim is to remedy the brain drain phenomenon by implementing an evolving salary policy and merit-based promotion, based on an assessment and continuing training system.

Promoting governance and justice reform in the Arab region

Under the OECD, France participates in the Governance For Development (GFD) programme, launched by the Ministers of 18 Arab countries, which is aimed at improving public governance: institutional and legal frameworks for anti-corruption, citizen participation, accountability, State renovation, and independence for the justice system, with a view toward economic revitalization and sustainable development in the region.

This programme makes it possible to bring into convergence programme ownership by the Arab stakeholders through regional dialogue, the OECD’s peer review and experience-sharing methodology, and the UNDP’s expertise in the field of cooperation. It is structured around 6 priority areas for reform, identified by the Arab countries. As part of the working group on electronic governance, France has offered its support in creating a portal site designed to federate the experience of the Maghreb countries in this field. It has also provided €115,000 to the UNDP’s POGAR Programme (Programme on Governance in the Arab Region) to run the working group on the topic: “Legal Reform and Applications”, which is chaired by Jordan, with the United States and France sharing vice-chairmanship. France will provide all training in the economic and financial fields, of such importance as the countries’ economies enter globalisation. As they came out of the dialogue, several countries issued strategic action plans, putting emphasis on identifying innovative solutions tailored to the special context and reforms underway in each country, as well as on capacity-building for civil servants, in designing, implementing, coordinating and assessing governance reform.

This support falls in line with efforts for greater consistency in French Cooperation at the regional level, across the Maghreb and Machrek countries. In the field of justice, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has provided its support to reforming and renovating the law, as well as to modernising legal organisation. Since the Doha Conference on Justice in the Arab World, organised upon the impetus of France and Qatar in 2004, several regional conferences have been held, focusing on cybercrime, the fight against money laundering, and funding for terrorism. The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs also participates, through the POGAR Programme, in training for instructors targeted at prosecutors in Morocco, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon, in partnership with the National School of Magistrates.


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