State Reform

State reform and modernizing public administration


France’s democratic governance strategy affirms that a State founded on efficient, honest, transparent administration that is close to the citizens is essential for sustainable human development.

On these grounds, public administration, as the interface between the government, civil society, the private sector and the citizens, has a key role to play. Strengthening its capacity to fulfil this role helps to ensure that public policies better satisfy people’s needs and that those who implement them take real ownership of them. This also improves social cohesion and confidence between the State and its citizens.

Role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinates the expertise of the relevant government departments, including the Directorate-General for Administration and the Civil Service (DGAFP) and the Secretariat-General for Government Modernisation (SGMAP), as well as the General Secretariats of the Government and of the Conseil d’État. The establishments providing initial and lifelong training for civil servants, such as the National School of Public Administration (ENA) and the Regional Institutes of Public Administration (IRA), are also partners that are known for their expertise.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports partner country administrations in the following ways:

Modernizing public administration

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports the modernization and builds the capacities of public administrations, focusing on their strategic roles, especially in terms of steering public policy and coordinating government work. It also supports the processes of deconcentration, to ensure that ministries are capable of supervising and, above all, supporting and advising decentralized local governments. For the State is responsible for maintaining territorial cohesion, particularly through regional planning policies.

Human resources capacity-building

Building capacities and training senior and middle management staff in partner administrations is crucial to ensure their efficiency, honesty, transparency and accountability.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs therefore supports projects to set up training centres and build the capacities of management staff. This support takes the form of expertise missions, training tool development and instructional design.

The projects may involve:

  • definition and implementation of national training strategies (support for the creation of public administration schools and the development of training tools);
  • revision of civil service statutes and development of human resources management tools;
  • results-based management and career management;
  • government coordination work;
  • improvement of relations between administrations and users (information and communication technologies, online administration)

Examples of projects

Ethiopia: setting up a training centre for members of the Ethiopian civil service

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been supporting the creation of a training centre for civil servants in Ethiopia since 2009, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Developed since 2010 in the framework of the Priority Solidarity Fund (FSP), this project consists of providing technical support to the Institute of Leadership and Good Governance (ILG), which welcomed its first class of students in 2010.

Palestinian Territories: helping to reform the institutions of the Palestinian Authority

France has been actively cooperating with the Palestinian Territories in the field of public administration since 2007. Following its support for the creation of a law, public administration and political science faculty at Birzeit University, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is furthering institutional reform by setting up a civil service training establishment.

France is known for its expertise in these three areas. In coordination with other national and international actors, through institutional partnerships and sharing of experiences, our action will contribute to strengthening the rule of law and developing sustainable, efficient and transparent administrative bodies.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: supporting the modernization of the Congolese State

Administrative reform is a priority of the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. France has supported reform of the Congolese State since 2004 via the Priority Solidarity Fund (FSP) and since 2010 as regards the civil service sector, by building the capacities of senior civil servants, in particular.

Updated: 09.07.13