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What Technical Assistance Companies are

Technical Assistance Companies provide international funding agencies with services of intellectual and advisory nature regarding the execution of projects of development. They thus work in transition and developing countries on the basis of contracts either awarded by funding institutions (the European Commission or the United Nations Development Program), or closely reviewed by them (the World Bank).
Basically, when consulting services are needed for the execution of any stages of a given project, invitations to tender are issued publicly. Interested TACs then look for the most qualified experts and partners (companies, NGOs, universities etc.), elaborate methodologies and budgets with them, and submit their proposals. If the project contract is awarded to them, they then execute it.
All in all, TACs basically act as interfaces between the funding agencies who design the development programmes in collaboration with the beneficiary countries, and the “experts” best capable of concretely planning and implementing those programmes. They both know the funding agencies’ complex procedures and have access to a wide range of experts in the sectors which the company has specialized in.

What a EC Framework Contract is

Euromed is currently involved in various "EC Framework Contracts" of the European Commission, which emphasises the companies' close cooperation with the services of the EC;

‘To increase flexibility amnd speed up the public contracting mechanism in the provision of technical assistance (TA) to the benefit of third countries as well as its own operations, the European Commission (EC)  has developed a procurement procedure named "Framework Contracts (FWC)". Framework Contracts cover various EC programmes and regions, including the regional programmes  (Phare, Tacis, Meda etc..) 

The current Framework contracts are mostly multi-year contracts in which groups of companies (Consortia) become ‘accredited" or "prefered suppliers’ for political advisory and consulting services to the EC for a specific area of expertise. The areas of expertise are grouped in the so-called ‘Lots’. 
In general each lot is serviced by several Consortia who are in turn invited -in a so-called Request for Services (RfS)- to propose teams of experts for a specific action. 
The time between the Request issued by the EC  and the award of the contract (maximum contract value of € 200,000) is usually two weeks. The scope of services requested under the projects relate to the full project cycle: identification, feasibility, operational and technical follow-up assignments, financial and/or contractual monitoring, project evaluation, technical, financial or contractual audit of the project, technical advice and support, information and communication, or closure of a project.

What the Lot 7 is

EUROMEd is currently involved in the EC's Framwork Contract Lot 7: the so-called LOT 7 corresponds to the sectors  Human Rights, Democracy and Institutional Strengthening. This includes:
- Promotion and defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms
- Democratisation processes including elections and good governance of public affairs
- Conflicts prevention and dealing with the consequences of conflictsincluding landmine clearance
- State, Justice and Parliament reform processes
- Police and security
Framework contracts (EuropAid)

What the Project Cycle is

The project cycle correspond to the set of steps which constitute the process of any development project funded by an international funding agency.
Here for instance are the phases of the World Bank's project cycle:

The project indentification phases

The Bank begins its operations in a country by working with governments and other stakeholders to identify how its assistance can be designed to have the largest impact. Strategies and priorities for reducing poverty and improving living standards are produced by this analysis.
The project identification phase
Once the Bank and the borrowing country have identified their development priorities, ideas for projects are proposed. An initial environmental screening determines whether a proposal requires an environmental assessment.
The preparation, apprasail and board approval phases
The Bank's staff analyze the proposed project after its specifications have been developed by the borrower country. Discussions with the borrower country determine its final shape. The Project Appraisal Document (PAD) or the Program Document (PGD), along with the Memorandum of the President and loan documents are submitted to the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors for approval. If the loan or credit is approved, it is signed by the Bank and the Borrower. The project then enters the "active" stage.
The implementation
Once a loan or credit agreement is approved by the World Bank, it is submitted for final clearance by the borrowing government. For example, agreements may have to be ratified by a country's legislature. Then, the loan or credit is declared effective, or ready for disbursement, and the agreement is made available to the public.
With technical assistance from the  World Bank, the Borrower prepares the specifications for the project.
Companies bid through the international competitive bidding process and the government lets its contracts.
The World Bank reviews this activity to ensure that its procurement guidelines have been followed. If they have, funds are disbursed.
At the end of the disbursement period (anywhere from 1-10 years), a completion report identifying accomplishments, problems, and lessons learned is submitted to the Bank Board of Executive Directors for approval.
The evaluation phase
After a project is completed, the World Bank’s Operations Evaluation Department conducts an audit to measure its outcome against its original objectives.


For more information on the EC's Project Cycle Management, please click here