Capacity Building: A Specific Goal
Support for capacity building aims to improve aid beneficiaries’ performance over the long term – their ability to achieve goals and adapt to a changing environment. Capacity-building efforts consider three interdependent dimensions: individual skill sets, working modes within the target organization(s), and traits of the operating environment.
AFD helps build capacity through two principal aid modalities: knowledge capitalization – sharing AFD’s practical experience from many sectors and its institutional expertise in project planning and execution, and expertise financing – funding external experts for training, technical assistance and knowledge-transfer services.
Given the importance of capacity building in the development process and the requirements of aid beneficiaries, AFD mobilizes a dedicated team to deploy these modalities.
AFD, via its training center CEFEB, has been helping to build its partners’ skills for fifty years now. At the same time, AFD’s project financing often includes a technical assistance component, which contributes to ensuring that projects are successfully implemented, although it mainly aims to build its partners’ capacities. The core objective of some of the operations financed is to support the development of Southern partners. Training for leaders and stakeholders in the field is one of the main tools employed to achieve this. We take a brief look at the details of the channels and tools that are implemented.
Precondition for sustainable development
Enhancing the performance of development stakeholders in the South – a precondition for sustainable development – is an integral part of the mandate of a bank and development agency like AFD. This capacity building for the design, implementation and evaluation of development policies, programs and projects through knowledge sharing and exchanges of experience with Southern countries is an increasingly important aspect of AFD’s activities. In this context, AFD aims to structure its approaches and will be presenting its target operational guidelines at an information and exchange meeting on 31 January 2013.
Seminars, workshops, networking, experts and Master’s
Several tools and channels help to improve stakeholders’ skills: the transfer of know-how and information via:
- Short-term seminars. A distinction should be made between training sessions for projects (about fifty in 2011) and sessions which are part of overall training provision (about sixty a year);
- Exchanges and networking. Experience sharing, in particular, and networking for stakeholders make it possible to pool knowledge and enhance individual references. Exchanges between peers are a mainspring for strengthening stakeholders during workshops or seminars, study tours or the participation in specific networks. For example, the support to the Chadian Ministry of Livestock on issues related to pastoralism included a study tour in Niger concerning institutional issues and Niger’s Rural Code.
- The involvement of experts who will transfer their know-how or support ongoing dynamics for change among partners.
- Last but not least, the Master’s “Public and Private Management Capacities” run by CEFEB (AFD’s training center) with the University of Auvergne School of Economics and CERDI (International Development Study and Research Center).
From Ghana to the Palestinian Territories, from China to French Polynesia
AFD organizes training sessions for project leaders and stakeholders in countries ranging from Ghana to the Palestinian Territories and from China to French Polynesia.
They are organized to improve their general knowledge and skills, which are required for the successful implementation of a program or project, or are linked to a specific project financed by AFD. In the latter case, they are therefore related to the main strategic directions for AFD’s activity in the country.
For example, in Senegal, as part of its contribution to the Energy Recovery Plan and in addition to investments for power generation and distribution, AFD is financing training for staff at SENELEC, the company partly responsible for power generation and distribution, notably in the form of mentoring provided by EDF.
In emerging countries, where AFD has a mandate to promote green and inclusive growth, seminars are held to inform the banks to which AFD allocates credit lines – “Green Credit Lines” – with the aim of boosting energy efficiency projects in SMEs. For example, awareness-raising sessions are organized as part of the support for Turkey’s Climate Change Action Plan.
Similarly, AFD organizes sessions in China with a view to the adoption of low-carbon growth. They last several days and raise the awareness of hundreds of Chinese bankers in terms of the interest of financing energy efficiency projects.
Supporting the growth of Southern partners
Over sixty short and medium-term seminars and workshops are organized in France and in AFD’s partner countries every year, such as the workshop on municipal resource management last November in Accra (Ghana), where 38 Chief Financial Officers from African local authorities analyzed ways of optimizing existing municipal resources and accessing new resources.
Examples of training topics proposed by AFD to its Southern partners include Project Management; Local Authority Financial Strategies; Urban Service Management and Urban Planning; Sustainable Development and CSR; Microfinance; Public-Private Partnerships; Macroeconomics & Public Finance.
In 2011, AFD’s training center trained 1,800 people from various countries and the French Overseas Communities.
The backbone of training for AFD’s partners: the Master’s “Public and Private Management Capacities”
The European diploma run by CEFEB, AFD’s training center, in partnership with the University of Auvergne School of Economics and CERDI is open to all development practitioners working in their countries and is gearing up to receive some 400 applications. Each year 40 managers from Southern countries are trained in project preparation and management. The program includes multidisciplinary knowledge and skills combining economics, finance and management and provides methods and tools that allow trainees to gain decision-making skills and eventually become the decision-makers and managers of tomorrow.
Several thousand executives from Southern countries have been trained in project design and implementation since this long-term training program was set up in 1963.
The call for applications for the Master’s “Public and Private Management Capacities” 2013/2014 opens on 28 January 2013 and closes on 15 March. For further information, please visit the CEFEB website (in French).