Technical Assistance and Capacity Building in International Development

6th June 2019
Author: Zenobia Ismail

This report concentrates on technical assistance or capacity building in North Africa. In the international literature, technical assistance entailed short-term interventions to provide technical skills or research in developing countries. Technical assistance was largely donor-driven. In the 1990s there was a shift away from technical assistance towards capacity building. Unlike technical assistance, capacity building focused on sustainability as well as obtaining local support for interventions. The literature reviewed how international actors engage in capacity building in North Africa. The EU supports capacity building in the security sector in Libya and sponsors public sector institutional building through twinning instruments in Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco. The African Development Bank and the World Bank support capacity building to support post-war reconstruction in Libya. UNESCO and the Swedish International Development Agency promote cultural diversity in Tunisia. The literature suggests that countries in the MENA region welcome linkages with the international development community and are supportive of partnerships with the EU and the International organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. The key lessons that emerge from capacity building programs reveal the importance of local ownership and show that coaching, mentoring and peer to peer on the job-training are more effective for knowledge transfer.

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Suggested Citation

Ismail, Z. (2018). Technical Assistance and Capacity Building in International Development. K4D Helpdesk Report. Birmingham UK: University of Birmingham.


6th June 2019


Continent: Africa

Country: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia