Working visit of a delegation of the Djibouti Institute of Public Administration (INAP) to the Kingdom of Morocco

From March 03 to 10, 2024, Mrs. Abdoul-Aziz Souleiman Aida, Director of Training at the National Institute of Public Administration (INAP) in Djibouti, accompanied by Mr. Mohamed Abdourahman Houssein, trainer in decentralization and local development at the Institute, undertook a working visit to the Kingdom of Morocco.

The visit had two main objectives. Firstly, to learn about the organization and operation of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) and to finalize the Framework Partnership and Collaboration Agreement between INAP and UCLG Africa, ahead of its signature in April 2024. The second objective was to seize the opportunity to discover Morocco’s experience in decentralization and advanced regionalization.

On March 04, 2024, the delegation was first received by Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, who welcomed them to Morocco and to the headquarters of UCLG Africa, the umbrella organization of African local governments, and thanked them for joining forces with the organization in building a high-performing Local Africa by empowering local governments through research, training and capacity building. For Mr. Mbassi, the signing of

this partnership agreement will lay the foundations for a fruitful collaboration that will shape the future of territories.

Mrs. Abdoul-Aziz, on behalf of the Director of INAP, Mr. Charmake Idriss Ali, expressed her honor and privilege to be received by the Secretary General of UCLG Africa. She also thanked Dr. Najat Zarrouk, Director of Development, Knowledge Management and the African Local Governments Academy (ALGA) of the organization, who was behind the dynamic preparation of this mission with the delegation, as well as the entire UCLG Africa team for their warm welcome and availability. Discussions between the delegation and the Secretary General focused on the exchange of know-how and best practices on the African Agenda 2063, on which capacity building for local government officials should be based, the promotion of civic engagement, the localization of SDGs in training programs, the reinforcement of experience sharing in terms of research and publications, as well as the promotion of South-South cooperation as a pillar of solidarity.

Then, Dr. François Paul Yatta, Program Director of UCLG Africa, Dr. Najat Zarrouk, Mrs. Fatima RAZOUKI and Mr. Lionel Nzamba, both from the Gender and Youth Department of UCLG Africa, in turn briefed the delegation on the activities of UCLG Africa’s Programme Unit, the organization and functioning of UCLG Africa and its ALGA Academy, and UCLG Africa’s two political networks, namely the Network of the Local Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) and the Network of Young Local Elected Officials of Africa (YELO).

For her part, Mrs. Abdoul-Aziz introduced her institute, INAP, which is a training and advanced training center in public administration under the supervision of the Djibouti Ministry of Labor in charge of Formalization and Social Protection. It is the successor to the Centre of Administrative Training of Djibouti (CFA), which was set up in 1988. Its missions include improving the clarity of vocational training and guaranteeing an efficient, high-quality public service; facilitating access to training, particularly in support of public administration; putting administration and public service at the heart of modernization; and sharing knowledge with the administration so that its training offerings are able to meet the specific demands of public administration.

Since January 2019, INAP has been an autonomous public administrative institution with its own Executive Board. It trains 600 to 800 civil servants and agents from Djibouti’s various ministries and organizes 15 to 20 training sessions and 8 to 10 seminars on contemporary themes every year.

On Tuesday, March 05, 2024, Mrs. Abdoul-Aziz Souleiman Aida and Mr. Mohamed Abdourahman Houssein visited the headquarters of the Moroccan Association of Regions (ARM) in the morning, where they were received by Mr. M’hamed Nejjari, the Executive Secretary. The delegation was briefed on the 3

levels of decentralization and advanced regionalization chosen by the Kingdom of Morocco for its development. The sub-national level is the Region, of which there are 12, the intermediate level is the Prefectures and Provinces, of which there are 75, and the grassroots and proximity level is the Commune, of which there are 1503. The key principles of this advanced regionalization are freedom of administration, good governance, cooperation, solidarity and subsidiarity.

Mr. M’hamed Nejjari presented the regions’ specific, shared and transferable skills, before outlining the main missions of the ARM:

· Leading and coordinating the regions’ advocacy efforts with public authorities, through the production of opinions and proposals on issues relating to the advanced regionalization agenda;

· Contribute to the animation of debates on the implementation of the advanced regionalization process and the promotion of the regional fact – with the various institutional, economic and social actors;

· Promote the pooling of resources and shared action in response to common regional concerns (capacity-building);

· Act as an interface, coordinating and leveraging the contributions of international partnerships to consolidate the role of regions in development.

The delegation then visited the headquarters of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Prefectural and Provincial Councils (AMPCPP), where it was welcomed by the association’s Executive Director Mr. El Hanchi Abdelaadim, AMPCPP’s Advisor and Director of Presidential Affairs at the Rabat Prefectural Council Mr. Boualam Mohamed, Communications Manager Mr. Sabour Sabah and Head of Social Affairs, Cooperation and Partnership at the Prefectural Council of the City of Rabat, Mrs. Aziza El Mokdadi.

Mr. El Hanchi Abdelaadim gave a presentation on the Association and its role in coordinating with the various components of the institutional framework of administrative decentralization in Morocco, to serve as a platform representing the Prefectures and Provinces and facilitate meetings and exchanges with all the actors of territorial development in Morocco, as well as national and international partners in the perspective of promoting territorial development and good local governance. The INAP director of training also took the opportunity to give a presentation on her institute, followed by discussions on

avenues for collaboration in the field of capacity-building for elected representatives and territorial managers, and South-South partnerships with local authorities in two friendly brotherly countries.

In the afternoon, Mrs. Abdoul-Aziz Souleiman Aida and Mr. Mohamed Abdourahman Houssein had the honor of being received by the Honorable Mrs. Aâtimad Zahidi, President of the Prefectoral Council of Skhirat-Témara. The Honorable President shared with the delegation the process of decentralization in Morocco and a little of her background, including how she was unanimously elected to head the Prefectural Council. She spoke of the assets and challenges of this advanced decentralization. She underlined the crucial role of Local Development Companies (LDCs), which are limited companies set up by local authorities to carry out economic activities that fall within the municipality’s remit.

For Mrs. Zahidi, an international benchmark is very important, which is why she appreciated this measure by the INAP management. She also presented the project to combat school wastage just completed by the Prefectural Council with the Zaria Local Government of Kaduna State in Nigeria as part of South-South cooperation. The project is backed by the African Support Fund of International Decentralized Cooperation (FACDI) set up by the Directorate General of Local Authorities of the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior. 60% of this 4 million Moroccan dirham project is funded by FACDI, 30% by the Skhirat-Témara Prefectural Council and 10% by the beneficiary (the Local Government of Zaria).

On March 06 and 07, 2024, the delegation took part in a practical workshop on “Optimization and financing tools for SEACAPs”, organized at the Farah hotel in Rabat by the Covenant of Mayors for the Mediterranean, Clima-Med, Climate for Cities (C4C) funded by the European Union.

The workshop enabled participants to acquire practical knowledge to improve their capacity in preparing and implementing their Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (SEACAPs) within communes, using the preparation manual. In addition, the workshop clarified targeted knowledge, facilitating access to essential financial resources, as detailed in the Climate financing guide.

On the afternoon of March 07, Mrs. Abdoul-Aziz Souleiman Aida and Mr. Mohamed Abdourahman Houssein were received at the Ministry of Digital Transition and Administrative Reform of the Kingdom of Morocco, Directorate of Administrative Organization, by Mr. El Hazziti Mohamed Anouar, Head of the

Administrative Restructuring and Devolution Division. He gave a presentation on the evolution of Territorial Development in the Kingdom of Morocco with decentralization and devolution from 1959 to the 2011 Constitution, highlighting the decentralized nature of the Kingdom’s territorial organization based on advanced regionalization, the election of regional councils leaders by direct ballot and assigning executive power to the presidents of territorial authorities, giving the region a leading position in relation to other authorities and providing for participatory democracy mechanisms.

“In its first chapter, the constitution affirms that the Kingdom’s territorial organization is decentralized, based on advanced regionalization. And the region has a place of pre-eminence in relations between the various local players. It’s a space for dialogue, consultation, and for preparing and monitoring development programs.” said Mr. El Hazziti.

He then shared the objectives of administrative devolution, as follows:

· Support the Kingdom’s decentralized territorial organization based on advanced regionalization, with a view to strengthening the complementarity of functions and missions between decentralized services and decentralized bodies;

· Bring public services closer to users by improving quality and ensuring continuity;

· Ensure the territorialization of public policies: development, implementation and evaluation (convergence, coherence and complementarity of public policies).

Mr. El Hazziti Mohamed Anouar also presented the pillars and principles of administrative devolution:

· Simplifying procedures for accessing public services and making them more accessible to users, by helping them to complete these procedures under appropriate conditions;

· Bringing public services closer to users, promoting them and guaranteeing their quality and continuity;

· Pairing the transfer of skills to decentralized departments with the allocation of financial and human resources to these services, to enable them to carry out the missions and responsibilities entrusted to them;

· The principles of competence, merit and equality of opportunity in the appointment of officials responsible for managing decentralized services;

· The redeployment of civil servants between central administrations and decentralized services by encouraging administrative mobility, in order to provide these services with the skills they need to carry out their missions in the best possible conditions.

The roadmap for the implementation of the administrative devolution project is made up of 5 Axes and 5 actors:

The 5 Axes are organization and administrative structures, management of human and financial resources, governance mechanisms, delegation, training and communication.

The 5 actors are Head of Government, Authority in charge of Economy and Finance, Authority in charge of Interior, General Secretariat of the Government, and the Government Authority in charge of Administration Reform.

On Friday, March 08, 2024, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, UCLG Africa through its network of Local Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) and its partners organized a workshop on the theme “Invest in Women, Accelerate Progress” in the Council of the Oriental Region located in the Moroccan city of Oujda. This hybrid workshop saw the participation of Mrs. Abdoul-Aziz Souleiman Aida and Mr. Mohamed Abdourahman Houssein.

The workshop was marked by:

· Awareness-raising on the importance of gender equality for human rights and local development;

· Promotion of the initiatives and best practices of local players for gender equality;

· Strengthening of links and synergies between the Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment (PEG) project partners and beneficiaries;

· Dissemination of knowledge and tools produced by the PEG project, in particular the sociogram;

· Mobilization of local authorities and elected representatives  of the Oriental Region to support the PEG project and its activities