Evaluation, a learning tool to improve practices

Evaluation is a meaningful exercise. It firstly meets the objective of transparency and accountability, but also and especially aims to improve our action thanks to the lessons learned from experience. Evaluation thereby contributes to feeding into the state of knowledge on development by establishing a link between research and the field.
Ultrasound scan, Ryad health center, Mauritania
evaluations conducted since 2010, including over 50 in-depth or impact evaluations
impact evaluations launched since 2010
  • Understanding evaluation at AFD

    The objective of evaluations at AFD is to improve its practices. Knowledge production and lessons learned from evaluations make it possible to reorient projects, strategies and operational tools to improve their quality, as well as the impacts on development. As any public institution, AFD is required to continuously ensure that its actions are effective and is accountable for this to its Board of Directors, its partners and, more generally, to the public.

    In 2013, AFD formalized its evaluation policy and pledged to enhance its capacity to analyze the results of its operations. The main objective of this policy is to disseminate a culture of evaluation in the organization, but also among its counterparts, by jointly building operational recommendations, capitalization and learning. This commitment applies to the two main types of evaluation conducted by AFD:

    • Project evaluations, which aim to feed into the dialogue with stakeholders on the results of our actions, thereby promoting learning and ownership of recommendations. These evaluations are generally conducted directly in the country of operation concerned and are managed by AFD’s local agency, which involves the relevant partners. Summary sheets of these evaluations are available on AFD’s Opendata website.
    • In-depth evaluations are devised from a broader perspective. They concern clusters of projects, a sector, an instrument, a sectoral intervention framework or a country. The main objective in this case is to produce knowledge about the impacts of projects, by highlighting the mechanisms which have led to the results observed. On the same principle, AFD conducts impact evaluations and, in the context of its governance mandate, provides support for the evaluation of public policies. Finally, since 2007, AFD has regularly been conducting video evaluations. They are more accessible and more graphic and are an innovative and effective information and training tool. 

    Did you know?
    You can learn about our future evaluations: every year, AFD updates its three-year programming of in-depth evaluations.

    Download our programming here (in French)

  • Impact evaluations

    Impact evaluations are scientific evaluations which aim to measure the impacts on beneficiaries that can strictly be attributed to a development project. This type of evaluation fills a gap in knowledge about the impacts of development actions. Due to the specificities of the methods used, these evaluations focus on one of the aspects of a project, rather than on all the results which are related to it. For example, the evaluation can aim to:

    • Measure the impacts of an urban renewal program in a poor neighborhood in the city of Djibouti on living conditions for residents (to find out about the project, consult this sheet; to go further, read AFD’s study n°11)
    • Measure the impacts on cholera and diarrheal diseases directly attributable to a project to improve drinking water supply in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (find out about the project, go further with a scientific article on the subject)
    • Evaluate the impact of a maternal and perinatal healthcare system on neonatal mortality in Mauritania (to find out about the project, consult this sheet;  to go further, read the evaluation report)
    • Measure the impacts of various forest management methods adopted in Congo Basin forests on deforestation (to find out about the project, consult this sheet).

    Scientific impact evaluations are relevant in two respects. They provide a better understanding of the long-term consequences of initiatives conducted by AFD and establish a productive link between evaluation and research.

    Given the research dimension of this type of evaluation, and in order to have a diversity of approaches, AFD establishes partnerships with the most experienced scientific institutes in terms of development: the French Institute for Research and Development Institute (IRD), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the J-Pal Poverty Research Lab, the University of California in Berkeley, etc. Whenever possible, AFD also involves research institutes from the relevant countries of operation in its research, and national statistics institutes which have relevant databases to conduct this type of evaluation.

    Download AFD’s impact evaluation strategy

  • Public policy evaluation

    Public policies are tools implemented by public authorities in our countries of operation to achieve objectives in a given sector of society. Evaluating public policies is complex, as it raises issues of governance and sovereignty.

    AFD assists its partner countries in the evaluation of their public policies from several angles:

    • Make public policy evaluation an instrument of good governance. In order to improve the relevance and effectiveness of the State’s action in our partner countries, AFD supports the dissemination of a culture of evaluation within the relevant administrations, via evaluations conducted in partnership with governments. Examples of what has been produced include, the mid-term evaluation of Benin’s Ten-Year Education Sector Development Plan for 2006-2015 and the evaluation of the territorial development policy in Tunisia.
    • Evaluate public policy loans. It involves analyzing the way in which budget support has contributed to the changes observed in the country. Public policy loans (budget support) aim to finance and support a sectoral or multi-sectoral public policy. The evaluation of this type of operation is a particularly complex exercise which requires, in particular, assessing the impacts of the public policies supported. AFD initiates evaluations, sometimes jointly, of public policy loans and is involved in multi-donor initiatives whenever possible. For example, AFD has conducted a joint evaluation with JICA of a public policy climate loan in Indonesia (find out about the project, read the report). It has also participated in steering evaluations of budget support commissioned by the European Commission in Morocco (read the report), Mozambique (read the summary, and the report) and Ghana (report forthcoming).
    • Provide support to data production. AFD has been involved in data production for a long time, alongside partners such as Afristat and National Statistics Institutes (NSIs). This aspect was strengthened in 2016, with its new responsibilities in terms of cooperation in the field of economic and financial governance. AFD focuses on strengthening national statistical mechanisms (epidemiological monitoring, research institutes, urban planning institutes…), the aim being to strengthen their evaluation and research capacities in the medium or long term. For example, we have established relations with national statistics institutes to conduct a number of evaluations, such as those of the obstetrics package in Mauritania (with Mauritania’s National Statistical Office), the rehabilitation of poor neighborhoods in Balbala (in Djibouti, with DISED), and Senegal’s business upgrading program (with ANSD).


    AFD is assisting the Government of Côte d’Ivoire in the evaluation of its public policies, with a focus on youth integration and local secondary schools. We mobilized national statistical systems beforehand in order to produce results indicators. We are also providing technical assistance for the programming, preparation and conducting of evaluations.

    Find out more details about this project

  • Evaluation committee

    The Evaluation Committee (COMEVA) is responsible for taking an overall look at the evaluations conducted by AFD, alone or jointly with other donors. It meets four times a year and during each meeting examines some of the most strategic evaluations for AFD. It consequently gives its opinion as to the quality and relevance of the work conducted. Every year, it also gives its opinion on the evaluation program and on the institutional mechanism in place. COMEVA regularly reports on its action to AFD’s Board of Directors.

    The committee is chaired by an independent figure and is made up of four qualified individuals and four State representatives:


    • Anne Épaulard – Professor of Economics at the University Paris Dauphine and scientific advisor at France Stratégie.


    • Mauricette Gady-Laumonier, Head of the Evaluation Unit at the Directorate General of the Treasury of the Ministry of Economy and Finance;
    • Jean-Michel Le Dain, Head of the Evaluation Unit of the Directorate General for Globalization at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs;
    • Corinne Minot, Head of the Evaluation, Forward-looking and Government Expenditure Service at the Ministry of Overseas France;
    • Anne-Florence Pouligo, Civil Administrator at the International and European Affairs Service of the Directorate General for Foreign Nationals in France of the Ministry of the Interior.


    • Pierre Fery, Economic Studies Service in the Strategy Department at Caisse des Dépôts;
    • Flore Gubert, Director of the Societies and Globalization Department at IRD;
    • Philippe Jahshan, President of Coordination SUD;
    • Awa Thiongane, former Senior Regional Advisor at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.


Video evaluation of the Limpopo National Park development project

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This map is for illustrative purposes only and does not engage the responsibility of the AFD Group


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Institutional document

AFD's evaluation policy

Oct 2013