The Deauville Partnership is a multilateral initiative to support democratic and economic transition in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Launched at the G8 summit held in the French town of the same name in May 2011, the Deauville Partnership backs political reform – notably improved governance and the fight against corruption – and sustainable and economic growth.
While set up by the G8 together with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya, the Partnership is “global”, open to all countries in the region moving towards democracy, as well as international financial institutions (IFIs), UN agencies, the private sector and civil society.
Multilateral development banks, such as the EBRD, play a special role within the Deauville Partnership. The G8 declaration launching the Partnership called on them to “deliver enhanced, frontloaded and coordinated support to Partnership countries based on strong economic programs to strengthen governance and bolster the business climate”.
As for the EBRD in particular, the declaration noted its “financial strength” and drew a direct parallel between its transition work in central and eastern Europe and “its focus on private and entrepreneurial initiative” in the aftermath of the “Arab Spring”.
A later joint statement on the Deauville Partnership by several IFIs, including the EBRD, strongly backed the process but also underlined the economic challenges ahead.
“International support should include not only development aid but also enhanced access to developed country markets,” the September 2011 statement said. “This will be critical to avoiding aid dependency, building human capital and increasing the role of the private sector.”
It also stressed the need for action programmes “to be home-grown and driven by plans elaborated by the Partnership countries themselves”.
The IFIs meanwhile approved a dedicated Deauville Partnership coordination platform to facilitate information sharing and mutual understanding, coordinate monitoring and reporting and identify opportunities for collaboration on financing, technical assistance and policy work.
As a chair of the IFI’s Coordination Platform in 2014, the EBRD focused the platform’s work on aligning policy messages, promoting structural reforms and improvements in the business climate, facilitating joint investment and technical assistance projects in the Arab transition countries and enhancing cooperation with Gulf partners and Arab donor funds.
One of the important achievements of the Deauville Partnership is the MENA Transition Fund, launched under the US G8 Presidency. The fund supports reform-oriented projects with a view to promoting better governance, sustainable growth and better employment opportunities for women and youth.
The EBRD is an Implementation Support Agency and has two projects funded by the Transition Fund: small and medium-sized enterprise development in Egypt and water quality improvement in Jordan.