The Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC) is celebrating four decades of assistance to member states, building capacity in democracy and human rights, economic development, governance, health and education.
Over 2011 to 2012, more than £31 million has been committed to the fund, managed by the Commonwealth Secretariat, to help transform the lives of people across the Commonwealth through training, expertise and support, delivering practical solutions to meet local needs.
Deputy Secretary-General Ransford Smith said: “The CFTC is a trusted partner and was established on the basis of co-operation, mutual interest and sharing within the Commonwealth family. CFTC is particularly noted for responding to the concerns of small states who are not as well served by the large global players.
CFTC programmes have had the biggest impact on the lives of people like Rutha Wilson, who runs a brick-making business on the Pacific small island state of Vanuatu. Ms Wilson and hundreds of local residents have benefited from a mobile banking initiative, through which loans are provided by banking officers visiting remote areas on motorbike.
Commonwealth member countries can request for technical assistance through the CFTC by sending proposals and expressions of interest for consideration to:
The Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation
The scheme also facilitated financial literacy training through seminars, information printed in the local language and a bi-weekly radio programme. Since it began in February 2010, more than 6,000 new bank accounts have been opened, with over US$1 million mobilised into savings accounts on the island state.
Ms Wilson’s is a story replicated across the Commonwealth.
The Fund is demand-led and financed through voluntary contributions from Commonwealth member governments and overseas territories.
A short video provides examples of recent CFTC assistance in several areas, such as:
Retselisitsoe Calvin Masenyetse, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Justice in Lesotho, which was a beneficiary, said: “We have come up with justice reform that is going to change the whole landscape of administration of justice in this country. This intervention is monumental to us. It’s a big footprint that the Commonwealth has left with the Lesotho justice system.”