France’s many assets

For greater competitiveness on the international expertise market

  • With the world’s second largest diplomatic network (160 bilateral embassies, 88 consulates general and 8 consulates, 17 permanent representations to international organizations, 132 cultural establishments and a strong partnership with a network of 1,016 Alliances françaises), France has a tool which must play a leading role in both the analysis and transmission of the demand for expertise as well as in the political support for actions from French public and private agencies and experts’ missions.
  • France also has a large contingent of experts (technical assistants) and many researchers working for local institutions and French research bodies (Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD): Research Institute for Development; Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD): Centre for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for Development; Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS):
    National Centre for Scientific Research; establishments from the Institut Pasteur, etc.). This scientific network is a valuable resource for gaining knowledge of the local environment and our partners’ specific needs, and is a major vehicle for influence.

The quality of French expertise is particularly renowned in the areas of:

  • institutional capacity-building and governance policies;
  • Millennium Development Goals: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; develop a global partnership for development.

The “support for the media sector in the Democratic Republic of the Congo” project

Launched in 2007 for at least four years, this programme supports the development of a regulated and professional media sector in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Several actions were implemented to that end: support for the professionalization of the media, the production of peace programmes, democracy and good governance, consolidation of media regulation and self-regulation, promotion of its economic viability and promotion of independent public service media. Managed by France expertise internationale, this programme is financed by British international cooperation, the Department for International Development (DFID).

  • France, the world’s fifth economic power, stands out through an important international presence of its major companies and a network of its small and medium enterprises. 75% of the turnover of French CAC 40 enterprises is earned internationally, including 30% from emerging countries.
  • French territorial units are one of the most active assets working at grassroots level. They carry out thousands of projects in 120 countries, worth an estimated 250 million euros annually.
  • French-speaking countries (56 Member States of the International Organisation of La Francophonie) can serve as a catalyst for a special partnership.

Links between the market and networks

While the growing share of multilateral donors on the expertise “markets” is leading to demand largely based on calls for tender, orders for expertise can also rest on mutual bilateral procedures which still make up an essential share of the market.

How can we rise to the challenges?

  • Develop the "Maison France" culture of French actors abroad and in international forums, especially in order to share and better collect information.
  • Improve the coordination of the thirty or so French public expertise agencies to ensure that it is clearly visible and optimize the French response.
  • Deepen foreign-language learning, which is necessary for knowledge sharing.
  • Revitalize the human resource management of French ministries and agencies in order to ensure that international missions are attractive.

High demand for experts

While international experts are often private sector workers, public sector officials (State, agencies, etc.) are a particularly recognized and appreciated group, from which private agencies draw recruits. For foreign authorities, public experts can provide a seal of quality.

“Best practice” frameworks have been set up in recent years: the Centre for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for
Development (CIRAD) compiled a “best practice guide” for its experts; the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR) drew up an “Expertise Charter” in early 2010.

Updated on: June 2011