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The African support fund for international decentralized cooperation (FACDI)

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«FACDI want to contribute to the sustainable and integrated development of local authorities»

By Mustafa Ameur

The Kingdom of Morocco, in its 2011 Constitution, reiterated its commitment to African countries by emphasizing in its preamble that: « …the Kingdom of Morocco, a united State, totally sovereign…reaffirms the following and commits to it:

  • Consolidate cooperation ties and solidarity with the peoples and countries of Africa, in particular the sub-Saharan and Sahelian countries;
  • Strengthen South-South cooperation…”.

Morocco’s African roots have, moreover, a historical depth that goes back several centuries. It continued during the period of decolonization of African states when the late His Majesty King Mohammed V, may God rest his soul, worked for the adoption in 1961 of « the Casablanca charter » aspiring to strengthen African unity. .

This rootedness has been further strengthened over the past two decades when the Kingdom placed Africa at the center of its foreign policy priorities by engaging in a bilateral cooperation policy marked by shared responsibility and deep solidarity.

Several initiatives in this direction have been put in place, in particular: the cancellation of the debt of the least developed African countries, access to Morocco for products from certain African countries without customs duties, the granting of scholarships, the establishment of a favorable migration policy which has made it possible to regularize the situation of approximately 50,000 African nationals since 2014, the establishment of the African migration observatory and its establishment in Rabat, etc. .

Similarly, the return of the Kingdom of Morocco to its African institutional family and the historic speech of His Majesty the King, may God assist him, on this occasion are now only proof that cooperation between Morocco and African countries is strategic and multidimensional.

Also, and to enable the Territorial Collectivities to align themselves with this « African policy of Morocco », the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior, through the General Directorate of Territorial Collectivities, set up in April 2020, the “African Support Fund for International Decentralized Cooperation of Territorial Communities”.

This timely initiative aims to contribute to the sustainable and integrated development of direct beneficiary local authorities and to pay particular attention to unifying projects and actions that can directly benefit local African populations.

The objectives sought through the establishment of this African Fund are :

  • Direct decentralized cooperation towards a strategic partnership with African local authorities;
  • Include cooperation in the dynamics of decentralization, local development, the strengthening of local authorities and local democracy;
  • Translating, in the projects and actions to be carried out, through capacity building and the transfer of knowledge and know-how, the improvement of the living conditions of the populations, access to basic essential services and the creation of jobs;
  • Include international decentralized cooperation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Promote so-called “triangular” or “tripartite” cooperation by implementing consultation between local authorities in the South and cooperation partners such as international institutions, bilateral cooperation agencies and donors;
  • Contribute substantially to the economic and social development of Africa and increase its capacity for socio-economic resilience.

All projects or actions carried out by local authorities (Regions, Prefectures/Provinces or Municipalities) and which fall within their own or shared competences are eligible for financing from this fund, such as :

  • Land planning and development (preparation of development plans and land use plans);
  • Support for basic services provided to citizens;
  • Institutional strengthening of local authorities;
  • Transfer of knowledge, know-how and know-how in the management of local authorities;
  • Sustainable development through household waste management, liquid sanitation, natural resource management, renewable energies, adaptation to climate change, etc.);
  • Training and capacity building of elected officials and territorial executives;
  • Improving the quality of services provided to citizens;
  • Technical assistance by improving the project management capacity of local authorities;
  • Feasibility studies for the construction of equipment or infrastructure;
  • The granting of scholarship
  • Its diploma training in Morocco (eventually reserved exclusively for Regional Councils);
  • Youth employability.

Three main actors are involved in this African Fund :

Firstly : The General Directorate of Territorial Communities « DGCT », lessor and provider of this Fund, as managing actor of the Fund which contributes financially indirectly, via the national territorial community, to the realization of projects or actions;

Secondly : The Moroccan local authority as a “pivotal” or “intermediate” authority which plays the role of link without which this partnership could not be functional. By accessing additional financial resources from the African Fund, it strengthens its intervention capacities to enable the partner African local authority to benefit from its know-how and expertise in specific areas;

Thirdly : The African local government as the direct and exclusive beneficiary of the financial and technical support of the African Fund. Starting from a partnership and concerted approach, it formulates its own needs by documenting them and proposing them to its Moroccan partner in the form of documented projects and responding to the rules of calls for projects launched annually.

In this regard, the General Directorate of Local Authorities launches an annual tender for projects for a period of ninety days (90 days) with regulations to be respected by local authorities wishing to apply.

Among the main provisions contained in this regulation are that :

  • The African Fund has an annual budget of 40 million Dirhams;
  • The ceiling for projects or actions to be submitted to the African Fund is
    4 Million Dirhams with a maximum participation of 60%, i.e. the equivalent of
    2.4 Million Dirhams per project or action (almost 250,000 US Dollars);
  • The hub local authority can only submit one project or action at a time for funding from the Fund;

The submission file must consist mainly of :

  • A joint letter of commitment from the two Presidents of the partner local authorities;
  • A framework note relating to the project or action to be carried out (objectives of the project or action, expected impact on the local population, technical and financial management capacity, etc.);
  • A form attached to the regulations duly completed,
  • A partnership agreement signed by the two partners according to an already established model

To review applications submitted to it, the African Fund has two governance bodies: a decision-making body and an operational body.

Seated within these governance bodies are several institutional partners such as the Department of African Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Living Abroad, the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation, the three Moroccan Associations of Presidents of the elected Councils, the National Coordination of the National Human Development Initiative (INDH) as well as the Business Departments making up the DGCT.

Each project or action declared eligible by the Steering Committee receives financial support from the African Fund up to 60% of the total cost. The remainder is financed by the two partners up to 30% respectively for the Moroccan local authority and 10% for the African local authority.

In accordance with the rules of tenders for projects, partner local authorities can mobilize their shares in kind (mobilization of experts, logistical means, coverage of certain accommodation and catering expenses, production of documents, etc.) which will be evaluated and converted into cash to be added to the financial package of the projects or actions selected.

Training of women in the financial management of cooperatives;

  • Improving the liquid sanitation and household waste collection network in African communities;
  • The development of sustainable tourism at the level of 4 African communities;
  • Promotion of youth employability:
  • The fight against school dropout:
  • The digitization of a municipal
    administration.

As of now, the DGCT has launched two calls for projects for the years 2020 and 2021. The results of these registered calls for projects are very convincing since several sub-Saharan African communities in particular have benefited from support from the African Fund of 41 .01 Million Dirhams, or almost 4.2 Million US Dollars.

This envelope has enabled the launch of 27 projects or actions at the level of 26 local authorities in 12 African countries :

 

These actions or projects selected will ultimately allow :

  • The training of 16 territorial managers;
  • The granting of 40 scholarships, including 20 scholarships for academic training and 20 others for professional training;
  • The upgrading of 2 historic squares and the creation of a park;
  • The establishment of a digital platform to encourage entrepreneurship;
  • The transfer of know-how for the establishment of Urban Agencies at the level of 4 Communes;
  • The training of women in the financial management of cooperatives;
  • Improving the liquid sanitation and household waste collection network in African communities;
  • The development of sustainable tourism at the level of 4 African communities;
  • Promotion of youth employability;
  • The fight against school dropout;
  • The digitization of a municipal administration.

It is clear that the originality of this African Fund, unlike what is done in the context of decentralized North-South cooperation, is that it adopts a unique approach by granting project management or action to the African local authority partner of the Moroccan local authority in a spirit of equality and solidarity.

Finally, the 3rd tender for projects for the year 2022 relating to this African Fund will be launched in conjunction with the organization of the 9th Africities Summit scheduled in Kisumu (Kenya) from May 17 to 21, 2022./.

SommaireDeror Sultan, Co-founder and CEO of 01Talent >>
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