Overcoming the deficit of wastewater collection and treatment facilities is both an environmental and health emergency and a major challenge for Lebanon. On 12 October 2012, the Lebanese Government and AFD signed a financing agreement for this purpose, which aims to develop an integrated sanitation system in Kesrwan.
Avoid a lurking ecological and health disaster
The marked lack of sanitation is a major concern in Lebanon. Only 8% of the volume of collected wastewater is treated and the bulk of the pollutant load, i.e. approximately 300 million m3 a year, is discharged without treatment into the Mediterranean Sea. Furthermore, the discharge of untreated wastewater pollutes both groundwater and surface water. Sanitation was neglected during the post-civil war reconstruction period and suffered from a serious lack of investment, but has now become a sectoral priority.
The financing agreement for the project concerns a EUR 70m loan. AFD will be participating in this project through cofinancing with the European Investment Bank (EIB), which is allocating a EUR 70m loan, and the European Commission, with a EUR 10m grant via the Neighbourhood Investment Facility.
Guarantee a secure water supply and the protection of the Lebanese and Mediterranean ecosystem
The project will build two wastewater treatment plants, two long sea outfalls with diffusers and coastal interceptors to transfer collected wastewater to the wastewater treatment plants. It will provide a response to the current environmental emergency in Caza of Kesrwan, a percolation area for water from the Jeita spring (which provides 60% of Beirut’s water supply) and one of the country’s main industrial and touristic areas.
The project’s economic and social impacts will concern the improvement in health conditions and the protection of spring water quality and will help reduce water-borne diseases. The project will have a significant impact on the environment by protecting water resources in the karst massif in Kesrwan and eliminating direct discharges of effluents into the Mediterranean Sea, thanks to the coastal collection networks and the improvement in the environmental status of rivers.
Furthermore, technical assistance to the Water Authority of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, a public institution in charge of managing water services in the region, will contribute to building its capacities.
Promote a strengthening of the regulatory and institutional framework for sustainable water management
Finally, the project will have a leverage effect on the institutional reform by promoting the adoption of the Water Code, the drafting of which has benefited from financing from French cooperation. Indeed, the introduction of financial principles and the strengthening of the regulation mechanism governing the water and sanitation services will improve resource management. Thanks to these expected impacts, the sanitation project in Kesrwan will help set Lebanon firmly on a sustainable development path.
AFD organized a workshop on active employment policies in Egypt from 1 to 3 October 2012 in Cairo, under the auspices of the Marseille Centre for Mediterranean Integration and in partnership with other donors. This event was marked by knowledge-sharing, donor coordination, the mobilization of national authorities and the preparation of new programs.
Employment: A huge challenge, at the heart of the Arab spring
Employment is one of the most demanding challenges for Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries (SEMCs), where 30% of the population is under fifteen. 30 to 40 million jobs will need to be created over the next twenty years to maintain the current employment rate, which is already low.
Indeed, job creation by the private sector has remained low, despite the high growth rates recorded by SEMCs in recent years. Due to tighter budget constraints, the ever-increasing number of higher education graduates, whose qualifications generally do not match the requirements of the labour market, can no longer rely on public sector recruitment to find a job as they did before. Youth and women are particularly affected by unemployment.
Persistently high unemployment and limited job opportunities – while the usual social safety nets were weakened by the increase in the price of basic necessities and budget constraints – were among the main causes of the Arab Spring. Today, communities no longer only want decent jobs in terms of pay and safety, but also social insurance systems covering risks of unemployment, illness or disability, as well as retirement systems. Moreover, there is a need for training programs to help jobseekers find work and improve their income opportunities.The Arab Spring has therefore brought employment to the fore as the overriding priority.
The AFD-CMI partnership on employment and social protection: a quick response capability
The Marseille Centre for Mediterranean Integration (CMl, www.cmimarseille.org) is a platform for knowledge sharing and joint learning gathering partners from the Mediterranean, the North (France, World Bank, European Investment Bank, German cooperation/GIZ) and the South (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon) on the issue of formulating public policies in vital sectors for the development of the region.
AFD is the leader for three programs at the CMI on water resource management (with Plan Bleu), urban transport, employment and social protection.
CMI has addressed the concerns of the Arab Spring on employment via a quick, renewed and coordinated response.
Following a first workshop on emergency social measures held in Tunis in June 2011 at the request of national authorities, a new CMI program on employment and social protection was jointly approved with Southern partners in November 2011. This new program, which meets the requests that were made, aims to define active employment policies comprising different aspects, such as promoting SMEs or self-employment, vocational training, high labor intensive public works programs, labor market information and functioning and specific instruments for access to employment, such as specialized centers, incentive programs and social networks. The two sides of the labor market – “supply” and “demand” – are therefore addressed, as well as the functioning of the market itself and measures targeting youth, women and vulnerable categories of jobseekers.
The program brings together AFD, the World Bank, International Labour Organization, African Development Bank and European Union. It involves a number of experts and practitioners from the Mediterranean and is coordinated with donors’ project portfolios in the sectors of SME financing, microfinance, vocational training and high labor intensive works. It comprises 4 components:
- Targeted research and data collection;
- The creation of an e-community of practices, launched in October 2011;
- Pilot projects to test or demonstrate certain options, which are currently being prepared;
- National workshops.
The Cairo Workshop: a further stage to inform public policies and projects
Following the Tunis Workshop, a second workshop was organized in Cairo from 1 to 3 October 2012. The aim was to support the Egyptian Government’s efforts to identify operational solutions to promote a job creating upturn in growth.
The workshop aimed to share with a wide range of Egyptian partners the many tools and practices implemented locally or internationally to address unemployment and promote employment, particularly in countries which have experienced a similar transition, and thus support the identification of active employment policies tailored to the situation in Egypt.
The workshop was opened by H.E. Khaled El Azhari, Minister of Manpower and Migration. The Minister reiterated the need to coordinate and integrate public action, given that 11 different ministries are involved in employment policies.
The proceedings of the workshop focused on four main topics: increasing employment opportunities, strengthening technical education and vocational training, improving labor market information and functioning, and supporting access to employment for youth and women.
The sessions combined presentations by researchers, experts and development practitioners and partners, which were discussed by the 60 participants from ministries and public institutions, the private sector, research and civil society communities, as well as international and Egyptian experts and practitioners. France’s experience of “second chance schools” (access to employment for youth excluded from the school system) and “France Initiative” (financing and support for SME start-ups) were capitalized on. During each session, information and reflection on the situation in Egypt were presented and discussed.
The workshop met the expectations of the organizers and participants by offering direct access to a wide knowledge base and good practices, thus building capacities via a network of expertise and multi-partner support; it led to coordination among donors and mobilized the Egyptian authorities. Finally, it fed into the strategic dialogue with the Egyptian government for the preparation of donor operations in the employment and social protection sector.
The wrap-up session highlighted the need to mainstream the current international setting in Egypt in order to enhance effectiveness and move from a sum of projects conducted separately to integrated programs implementing all the public policy instruments: regulations, financial and fiscal measures, institutional reforms, public investments, research, training and information and communication tools. Recommendations also concerned the need to establish monitoring-evaluation, with measurable indicators, and conduct impact assessments. The keywords of this session, which summed up the conclusions of the workshop, were “Not add but simplify; not only expand but transform”.
For further information:
· Link to the CMI’s “Employment and Social Protection” program
Link to the Tunis Workshop
Link to the Cairo Workshop
Conference on Islamic microfinance in Jeddah, co-organized with Islamic Development Bank, on 30 April and 1 June
AFD and the Islamic Development Bank have co-organized an international conference on Islamic microfinance in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) with CGAP (microfinance network led by the World Bank). This conference gathered major players in Islamic microfinance and provided the opportunity to review the practices and products of this financing method which is experiencing rapid development.
A rapidly developing method to finance the economy
The work of the conference reviewed the practices, products and volumes of this financing method, which is experiencing rapid development with a billion dollar turnover and an annual growth rate of 30%. It also highlighted the results of a study jointly led by CGAP and AFD.
This conference was organized in the context of the partnership agreement signed last January between AFD and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
The exchanges were rich and lively and brought to light the strengths and weaknesses of these tools, which are increasingly requested in a number of countries where AFD operates. They also more clearly identified the needs of beneficiaries, financial institutions and central banks, which play an essential role in terms of the regulatory framework and regulation.
A whole host of innovative experiences in the field
Several observations were made: the existence of a strong demand for this type of financial product, particularly from the poorest; the proliferation of innovative experiences in the field, which are often poorly identified; the need to launch benchmarking exercises in order to build technical, financial and institutional references.
A knowledge platform on the Internet
It was agreed that the various donors and institutions concerned, including IsDB and AFD, will support this process by promoting the implementation of information and exchange tools, such as a knowledge platform backed up by a dedicated website, and by holding an annual conference. An invitation was launched for the next one to be held at AFD’s headquarters in Paris.
Bilateral talks were held between AFD’s Chief Executive Officer, Dov Zerah, and the President of IsDB, Mr. Ali, on the sidelines of this conference, and meetings between the respective operational departments defined practical ways of implementing the agreement, notably the possibility of staff exchanges and the first cofinancing operations in the Mediterranean.
Signing of an AFD loan to the Lebanese Council for Development and Reconstruction to finance the second phase of the Cultural Heritage and Urban Development Program in Tyr and Tripoli. The economic regeneration of historic centers also provides the opportunity to develop common historic heritage, which is a vehicle for social cohesion.
On 15 December 2011, the Council for Development and Reconstruction and AFD signed a financing agreement for a €21m soft loan, in the presence of the Ambassador of France, Denis Pietton. This loan aims to finance the second phase of the Cultural Heritage and Urban Development Program in Tyr and Tripoli.
Tourism and social cohesion
AFD contributed to the first phase of the program by allocating a €12m concessional loan. The program was cofinanced by the World Bank and Italian cooperation and covered five historic cities in Lebanon. AFD’s financing concerned the cities of Tyr and Tripoli due to the predominance of social issues.
The Tripoli Citadel.
The first phase of the program concerned the development of the fishing port.
The second phase will refurbish souks, extend the coastal promenade linking the fishing port with the archaeological port and restore a Caravanserai, which will be turned into a crafts center, as well as a former observation tower, which will house the tourist office.
An example of works on a public space: the four phases of the Tripoli platform
The first phase of the program mainly aimed to conduct works on the Saint-Gilles Citadel, the main monument in the historic center, and to build a platform on the Abou Ali River, which restored unity in the city center. The second phase will refurbish souks, harmonize the facades of buildings along the river and restore two Caravanserai, a historic hammam and traditional dwellings, particularly those located at the foot of the Citadel. Travel conditions in the city center will also be improved with the creation of pedestrian areas and the development of public spaces.
The main expected impact of the program, which is already visible, is the regeneration of historic centers from an economic point of view, through tourism development, and in terms of social aspects by developing common historic heritage, which is a vehicle for social cohesion. This explains why it is strongly supported by local elected officials and by the communities in question.
The completed Tripoli platform
Volatilité des marchés agricoles et prévention des crises alimentaires sont au cœur des priorités de la présidence française pour le « G20 agriculture » qui a réuni pour la première fois, à Paris, les ministres de l'agriculture des pays du G20.
A cette occasion, décryptage des enjeux de la lutte contre l'insécurité alimentaire et précisions sur les objectifs et les actions menées par l'AFD dans le domaine.
Décryptage avec ce dossier spécial « Sécurité alimentaire » au lendemain du "G20 agricole" qui a réuni pour la première fois, à Paris, les ministres de l'agriculture des pays du G20.
► L'éradication de la faim n'est pas une utopie. Des solutions existent. Abolir la faim dans le monde « maintenant », tribune du Pr Ismaïl Serageldin et Dov Zerah
"Moderniser les process agricoles mais également notre façon de penser le monde"
Jean-Luc François est responsable de la division Développement agricole et rural à l'AFD
Qu’entend par sécurité alimentaire ?
La sécurité alimentaire signifie que tous mangent à leur faim. Mais il ne suffit pas de nourrir les gens pour qu’ils aient faim. Il faut augmenter leurs revenus.
Quels sont, d’après vous, les causes de la très grande vulnérabilité alimentaire dans laquelle vivent les pays du Sud aujourd’hui ?
Hormis des causes structurelles et locales, nous sortons d’une décennie où la doxa dans le monde des économistes du développement était : libéralisation et nouvelles technologies. Cependant – cause ou conséquence ? – la vulnérabilité aux phénomènes climatiques critiques, l’accroissement de la demande des pays émergents, au premier rang desquels la Chine, et le passage de leurs populations à des régimes carnés – beaucoup plus consommateurs de ressources naturelles – ont provoqué une réduction drastique des régions excédentaires et donc une flambée des prix. Les pays du Sud, de plus en plus dépendants de leurs importations de denrées alimentaires et où la population rurale est extrêmement pauvre, ont été particulièrement touchés par cette flambée des prix.
Aujourd’hui, nous sommes toujours dans cette grande vulnérabilité alimentaire.
Quelle est la stratégie prônée par la France et l’AFD ?
Pour répondre au défi de la faim, notre axe prioritaire est de moderniser l’agriculture des pays du Sud. Moderniser les process agricoles certes mais également notre façon de penser le monde et notre environnement. Il convient de conjuguer réponse globale et solutions locales.
La mise en place d’instances d’échanges, de régulation régionales, voire mondiale, en matière de politique agricole et de marchés des matières agricoles sont devenues une nécessité pour la majorité des acteurs du secteur.
En Afrique, par exemple, l’AFD travaille avec la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO) à la mise en place d’une gestion régionale des risques pour répondre aux désordres du marché.
Quels sont les axes d’intervention prioritaires en matière de développement rural et agricole ?
Nous intervenons en matière de structuration des filières, d’innovation, d’assurance et de crédit agricole ainsi que dans le domaine de la formation.
Des filières agricoles plus fortes sont également un moyen de lutter contre la vulnérabilité des populations. De la production à l’exportation en passant par l’accompagnement d’opérateurs intermédiaires, l’AFD accompagne certains de nos pays partenaires dans la structuration de ces filières.
Nous avons mis au point une palette d’outils financiers accessibles aux acteurs agricoles, en mixant prêts et dons, en développant des systèmes de garanties (fonds ARIZ par exemple).
Enfin, nous participons également à la recherche que ce soit sur les impacts de la libéralisation sur les agricultures du sud, sur la volatilité des prix et des moyens de la combattre, sur l’appropriation des terres, sur les filières vivrières, etc.
L’AFD est reconnu par ses partenaires comme un bailleur de fonds qui a une vision robuste de l’agriculture. Cependant, notre activité dans un pays, dans un secteur ne dépend pas que de nous. En effet, l’AFD répond à des demandes de ses partenaires. A nous de les convaincre.
Interview de Bruno Leclerc, directeur de l'agence AFD d'Accra (durée 7 mn)
Tribune du Professseur Ismail Serageldin et Dov Zerah, parue dans les Echos le 22 juin.
"L'éradication de la faim n'est pas une utopie. Des solutions existent. A la veille du G20 agricole, c'est plus que jamais une cause d'intérêt universel. L'agriculture africaine doit redevenir une priorité de l'aide internationale. "