Expertise France-French development agency: marriage announced

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from one law to another, France’s official development assistance policy takes shape. Created by the law of July 7, 2014 on development policy and international solidarity, Expertise France, the technical agency for French cooperation, is preparing to change its status. After only five years of existence, this public establishment placed under the supervision of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs as well as that of the Ministry of the Economy, should integrate the group of the French Development Agency (AFD). , under the impetus of the bill on solidarity development and the fight against global inequalities. Through this, the government hopes to stimulate a “renewal of international cooperation” at the heart of the conference organized by Expertise France on February 9. “Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic and the great challenges of the century, we need a real boost in solidarity at the global level”, underlined Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, by opening this conference. “It is in a dynamic of remobilization and refoundation that the bill relating to solidarity development and the fight against global inequalities is inscribed”, he added. This overhaul involves, among other things, the integration of the international technical cooperation agency into the AFD group, which implements France’s development policy. This should go relatively quickly since the government initiated the accelerated procedure on this text on December 16. Discussed before the National Assembly, the project should pass before the Senate in the spring, to be adopted before the summer, hopes Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Expertise France is consolidated

Something to rejoice in Jérémie Pellet, director of Expertise France: “We are eager to join the AFD group, normally at 1is July. It is a unifying project, in which I believe. “An excellent connoisseur of AFD, of which he was Deputy Managing Director under the mandate of Rémy Rioux, who is still in office, he adds that” this alliance between a development finance player and the implementation component in the field is precisely what should make it possible to respond to current challenges ”. “We will keep our specificities, that is to say those of an implementation agency with a certain agility,” he continues. Appointed to the management of Expertise France in November 2018, Jérémie Pellet was already responsible for “consolidating Expertise France and integrating it into a French development agency group extended by mid-2019”, We already explained in a press release from the technical cooperation agency.

In five years of existence, Expertise France has finally charted its course rather well in what its director describes as a “great adventure”. It must be said that she did not start from scratch. To remedy the scattering of technical expertise, it was a matter of merging six operators, each ministry then having its own department or body responsible for offering its know-how to developing countries. Along the way, other entities have joined the agency, such as Justice Coopération Internationale at the end of 2020. “Today, Expertise France mobilizes around 10,000 experts per year and leads 500 projects in more than 100 countries. Since its inception, it has tripled in size. It achieved around 100 million euros in turnover in 2015, we should exceed 300 million euros in 2021 ”, comments Jérémie Pellet, who also notes that the European Union remains the agency’s main partner. For a real physical integration within AFD, it will be necessary to wait until 2025 in a new building, located not far from the Gare d’Austerlitz. In the meantime, the technical cooperation agency is moving to the Port-Royal district in Paris.

With the French Development Agency, find the right model and change method

Initially, France approached the German model of international cooperation with two agencies, GIZ for expertise and KfW for funding. But, in a second step, with the integration of Expertise France into the AFD group, France is leaning towards the Japanese model with JICA, which combines the two functions. Already in January 2018, an information report from the Senate entitled “Expertise France, 3 years later: a successful reform, a model to be consolidated” recommended a merger between AFD and Expertise France, with the aim of creating synergies, pooling networks in order to offer a joint financing / expertise offer. “However, such a merger will only create value if the methods adopted preserve the specific strengths of Expertise France, namely the ability to enter into contracts with the UN and with foreign states on behalf of France, access to international donors. , rapidity of intervention and agility, the wide geographical and sectoral scope of intervention, all this including in particular the security-development continuum, and finally the privileged link with the French administrations ”, warned the report.

“It’s a changing method,” insists Jérémie Pellet. “We no longer do technical cooperation as we did thirty or forty years ago. Cooperation is open, partnership-based, with all civil society actors in the public sector, local communities, and diaspora actors. […] It is done in both directions. The role of an actor like Expertise France is to put actors who do the same job in phase, in France and in the rest of the world, to set up a peer-to-peer dialogue which brings benefits to each of the parties ”, explains. he. By working with AFD, Expertise France also has the mission of strengthening the technical offer offered with a doubling of the number of international technical experts by 2023.

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