The founding of the Congolese ENA, based on the French school by the same name, is the result of a reform launched in 2005. By summer 2014, a first class of 60 students had been recruited, both making this aim a concrete reality and highlighting the need for an increase in capacity.
“We got involved with supporting the school starting with the second class,” explains Eve Ingwa Ikaya, project manager at the AFD branch in Kinshasa. This support falls under the Financial Governance project for the 1st C2D Debt Reduction-Development contract signed by France and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2013 in Kinshasa. The contract calls for France to assign the DRC's debt maturities and a joint agreement to fund high-priority initiatives supporting the development and the fight against poverty.
The first contract, for a sum of €106 million, covered the period from July 31, 2013 to December 31, 2016. It was used to investigate high-priority projects in the areas of governance, water and sanitation, education, and professional training.
In this context, AFD was asked to reinforce the capacities of the DRC ENA and develop a curriculum, as well as provide complementary services such as updating the library and acquiring equipment (generator, laptop computers for students, software, etc.). Expertise France was designated as the contracting authority.
The project was perfectly coordinated and met the needs of the school: “The local AFD branch was very attentive in providing C2D support to ENA. They made sure to deliver their ANOs (non-objection notices) based on activities agreed upon by all the parties,” said Félicien Mulenda Kahenga, coordinator of the technical committee responsible for monitoring and assessing reforms (CTR) and executive secretary of FONAREDD (DRC Ministry of Finance). “The promised credits were paid out, including funds to pay teachers, run student internships, build staff capacity, acquire equipment, and provide internet access.”
To date, AFD has supported the education of three out of four classes (nearly 300 graduates). AFD was also involved with the fifth class, improving the curriculum and managing teacher salaries. With the contract soon coming to a close, thoughts are turning to what will happen next. The school is planning to form a partnership with ENA France.
“This flagship project in the Congolese public administration reform will help reform public service,” explains Ikaya. "It will also facilitate the recruitment of high-level civil servants with strong skills, able to guide the government’s actions within a reformed regulatory framework. The end goal is to improve public service to better meet the population's expectations.”