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Study Visit on Best Practices in the NAO System in ACP Countries

This 5-day study visit provides an opportunity for officials from National Authorizing Offices (NAO) all over the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) to visit a selected NAO office and observe best practices, share experience as well as acquire skills which will strengthen their capacities in fulfilling their functions as stipulated in the Cotonou Agreement.  The study visit encompasses actual working sessions with counterparts and interactions with European Development Fund (EDF) Stakeholders in Line Ministries, European Union (EC) Delegations, EDF/EC Budget Line Projects and Non-State Actors as well as other Major Donors.

Upcoming training workshop

  • Course name:

    Study Visit on Best Practices in the NAO System in ACP Countries

  • Dates:

    to be scheduled
  • Duration:

    5 days
  • Venue:

    Accra, Ghana
  • Price:

    2000 US$
  • Course evaluation        4.744.744.744.744.74

  • Description

    The study visit will begin with a very thorough explanation and analysis of the role of the NAO to act as the focal point for all EU contracting.  The role of the NAO is stipulated in Article 35 Annex IV of the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement and relevant updates. The NAO as a Contracting Authority operating in a decentralised management mode will be analysed in detail along the different phases of the project cycle.  Practical working sessions will be developed where participants will engage their counterpart NAO colleagues in carrying out essential NAO tasks such as Preparation of Terms of Reference and Tenders, Verification of Payment Requests, and the Approval of Programme Estimates Monitoring.


    The Coordination functions with respect to other donors will be examined.



    • The definition of the National Authorising Officer and its legal basis will be explained and analysed in great detail with reference to Article 35 of Annex IV of the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement.


    • The choice of location of the NAO in different ACP countries will be examined. In particular the merits and demerits placement in particular Line Ministries will be discussed.


    • A comparison of the different Institutional arrangements and organograms for different NAO offices or units will be discussed.


    • Addressing issues that have been raised about weaknesses in NAO system from various evaluations


    • After gaining a better insight in to the theoretical aspects of the role of the NAO, arrangements will be made for actual working sessions with counter parts in an NAO Office to tackle subjects of interest,  thus offering an opportunity for hands-on experience, sharing information and learning best practices. Subjects could include all aspects of the typical functions of the NAO such as procurement procedures (Preparing Terms of Reference and Tenders; Call for Proposals) Disbursement and Verification of Payment Requests, Approval of Programme Estimates, Riders and Amending  Contracts, financial management and reporting systems and performance monitoring.
  • Objective

    The principal objective of the study tour is to ensure that participants have enhanced capacity and a better understanding of the role of the NAO, by sharing and observing best practices. Further, the objective is to address specific challenges that NAOs face such as the increased programming burdens coming down the pike with the transition to the 11th EDF; the preparation of tenders and the adherence to EDF procurement rules, the filing and archiving challenges faced; meeting visibility requirements; preparing projects for audit and responding to requirements to improve aid effectiveness. 

  • Audience

    The course is specifically targeted for management level officials of National Authorizing Offices and Regional Authorizing Offices in the ACP region.   The study tour is designed to accommodate both highly experienced management level officials as well as ones who may have been recently recruited.

  • Pre-requisites

    Participants should be from an NAO office or should be preparing to join one.

  • Learning outcomes

    Upon the completion of the study tour, Participants will have participated in extensive discussion forums, as well as have a better understanding of a number of topics, including:

    • The definition and legal basis of of the NAO
    • The role and responsibilities of the NAO
    • Mastering the Mandate of NAO
    •  The most appropriate positioning within government and the organogram/structure for an  NAO office
    •  Financial Management : Software and Reporting for EDF projects
    • The requisites for monitoring and the preparation of monitoring reports
    • The preparation of tenders and the EDF procurement rules and procedures
    • The preparation and management  of programme estimates
    • Filing and archiving approaches
    • Preparation for audits
    • Methods to improve aid effectiveness
    • Enhancing the management and coordination functions of the NAO
    • Efficiency in Programming and Accelerated Commitments and Disbursements of EDF Resources


  • Learning methods

    The learning methods will include the following

    • Introduction to key concepts through the “teaching and discussion” methods
    • Visits to an NAO Office
    • Visits to EDF Funded project
    • The use of original source material of key writers/thinkers in this area
    • The use of extensive examples from many different countries with different experiences to illustrate the points put across
    • The use of exercises (in particular short "buzz-group" sessions) to provoke and consolidate certain points raises
    • The use of major case studies –to illustrate in more detail some of the key points of the course.


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