North Africa Technical Assistance Facility

There is demand across governments and civil society in North Africa for specialist technical assistance, across many thematic areas – and the UK has rich expertise that can be drawn on for this.

The North Africa Technical Assistance Facility (NATAF) provides specialised, timely, demand-driven support, responding to the needs of governments and other national and regional institutions for technical assistance.

We have designed the facility and deliver and monitor it in a conflict sensitive way and can respond flexibly and adapt to changing contexts and opportunities. Delivering this assistance through a flexible facility like this allows the UK to adapt and respond to North African countries’ and societies changing needs, while maintaining a clear strategic framework and deriving cross-cutting lessons.

We work with the UK Embassies in the five countries across North Africa, with their national governments and with local beneficiaries across the region to provide technical assistance that supports reform. Since 2017, we have designed more than 70 projects in collaboration with local counterparts. We work across a range of technical areas, including open societies, conflict resolution and economic development. Climate change adapatation and mitigation cuts across many of our projects.

The technical assistance we have delivered includes:

  • Assisting with the scoping, design and review of projects.
  • Facilitating support to partners in the design and implementation of reforms.
  • Carrying out assessments, political economy analyses and evidence reviews.
  • Knowledge exchange through international visits, twinning arrangements and/or attachments into UK partner organisations.
  • Operational management, including contracting and deployment of experts, the management of small grants and coordinating and hosting workshops.
  • Providing monitoring and evaluation expertise and support, including capacity building, quality assuring results frameworks or Theories of Change and designing, managing and/or delivering independent evaluations.

Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia

2017-2022

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UK

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Supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation

NATAF has facilitated significant advancements in the climate and environment sphere across the region.

The Assessment of Stimulus Packages in North Africa project assessed the economic stimulus packages that have emerged across North Africa following the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as support packages announced by IFIs and MDBs. This aided understanding of the UK government’s potential to support green economic recovery in the region and feed into FCDO’s climate change strategy for the MENA region, as well as COP26.

NATAF has also supported the British Embassy Algeria to better understand the climate context, through analyses of Algeria’s NDC and the Impacts, Risks and Vulnerabilities of Climate Change in Algeria: Water Scarcity, Deforestation and Desertification scoping study. This study and its follow-up work also supported the UK to meet its own objectives in respect of its presidency of COP26.

NATAF has also executed a training on climate change mainstreaming for the Moroccan National Agriculture Research Institute. This project identified a package of technical assistance to support climate mainstreaming within Morocco’s National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA). The objective was to strengthen the quality of INRA’s research around supporting the resilience of the agriculture sector in Morocco against the effects of climate change by drawing on the experience and knowledge of the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), a specialist research, development and education organisation of the University of Greenwich.

Project successes

In this project, NATAF embedded an economic advisor in the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). The advisor worked to reconcile two sides of the divided system in Libya, both politically and economically, bringing together different international stakeholders to have a more coherent approach to policy formulation.

“The framework that was set and the meetings arranged for the two parties, created the base for the unification of the two banks […] NATAF facilitated the situation and helped to ease the tension between the two parties to reach an agreement on the audit.”

NATAF established relationships with the Tunisian Government with the aim of increasing trade by improving policy and practice in the following areas:

  • working with SMEs to build skills and knowledge to manage their businesses during COVID-19, and to pivot to new opportunities as they emerge;
  • improve the way various chambers of commerce support SMEs during the pandemic and thereafter; and
  • build skills and knowledge of women-owned SMEs to survive crisis and grow businesses.

“The training explained to me how the UK market works, what are the specifics and how to access this open market where there is a lot of competition. Personally the training has brought a lot. I am very convinced and I deeply believe in [NATAF].”

“[NATAF] helped create new potential partnerships for me like new potential for the prickly pear market, collaborate with a doctor of biochemistry for perfumes and the possibility of exporting argan abroad.”

This project supports the Moroccan Anti-Corruption Unit by providing examples of good practice form the UK to inform the establishment of a Programme Management Office to oversee the implementation and Coordination of the National Anti Corruption Strategy (NACS). The North Africa TAF has provided several audit trainings and fraud detection trainings were delivered by various implementers, to help build the capacity of those working in Morocco’s ANU.

“It is rare to access anti-corruption learning opportunities or experts within Morocco, so the exposure to anti-corruption UK experts has been valuable. The trip will open doors for mutual cooperation, on both sides. Morocco is a key gateway into Africa. This relationship will be helpful for us and the UK.”

“We talked a lot about risk mapping during the training and there are a few departments that have already harnessed this thanks to the knowledge acquired during these trainings. They have set up audit methodologies following international standards, auditing techniques they did not know before. Now they know them and want to implement them in their ministry and it is having a cascading effect.”