Our history

75 years of action
The Central Fund for Free France (Caisse Centrale de la France Libre – CCFL) was created by General de Gaulle in London in 1941 during the Second World War. Its purpose was to provide the administration of Free France with a financial institution to act as a Public Treasury, central bank and development bank for territories. Its area of influence rapidly spread in both the French overseas territories and Africa, and its monetary role declined, with the focus turning towards project financing.

Over the years, CCFL, which became Agence Française de Développement in 1998, has developed its missions, its partners and its fields of action in order to adapt to changes in international balances and development issues.
Our key dates
1941
Creation of the Central Fund for Free France (CCFL)
General de Gaulle

CCFL was set up in London by General de Gaulle. Its purpose was to provide the administration of Free France with a financial institution to act as a Public Treasury, central bank and development bank for the territories which had joined its ranks.

1944
CCFL, established in Algiers, became the Central Fund for Overseas Territories (Caisse Centrale de la France d’Outre-mer – CCFOM) 
Banknote of 100 francs CCFOM Guyana

It was established in Paris in September. 

1946
CCFOM now allocated loans directly to local authorities and public institutions in the French overseas territories
Hydroelectric dam in Congo

The Law of 30 April laid the foundations for the future French cooperation system, with State subsidies and loans from CCFOM, which was also able to take part in the creation of semi-public companies in order to promote credit, social housing and electricity supply.

1947
Opening of the first agency in Brazzaville

Its role was to support economic actors and social development initiatives in the field.

1958
CCFOM became the Central Fund for Economic Cooperation (Caisse Centrale de Coopération Économique – CCCE)
Logo Central Fund for Economic Cooperation, 1959

Against the backdrop of the Cold War and the wave of independence, France aimed to maintain close relations with its former colonies. CCCE’s role was refined: financing, loans, bond issues, advisory services. Priority was given to the quality and feasibility of projects.

1963
CCCE’s training department became the Center for Financial, Economic and Banking Studies (Centre d’Etudes Financières, Economiques et Bancaires – CEFEB)

It implemented capacity building programs and training for the beneficiaries of CCCE financing. 

1975
CCCE extended its geographical area of operation

The Government authorized it to allocate financing on market terms and extend its geographical scope to English- and Portuguese-speaking African countries and to Haiti. 

Measures were taken to allow it to develop its activities.

1977
PROPARCO, its private sector financing arm, was created
Proparco's logo 1985

The Société de Promotion et de Participation pour la Coopération Economique (Proparco) was launched on 7 November 1977 with a mandate to support local, national or French entrepreneurs seeking to lead projects in developing countries, especially in Africa.

1981
CCCE committed its first budget support
Onion growing in Mali

In a context of debt crisis, CCCE was authorized to grant budget support to countries in difficulty, based on the model for loans allocated in the previous year by the World Bank. 

The aim was to support the financial recovery of assisted States, the adoption of major economic and financial reforms, or various sectoral reforms, such as the restructuring of agricultural sectors concerning products affected by the decline in export revenues.
 

1990
Opening of a grant window to finance the least developed countries (LDCs)
Cotton market, CAR

In 1990, in order to avoid a deterioration of the debt crisis, at the La Baule Summit, the French President decided that CCCE would now allocate grants to the poorest African countries. 

1992
CCCE became the French Development Fund (Caisse Française de Développement – CFD)

The Rio Earth Summit made sustainable development a common objective for the entire planet. It became a priority issue for CCCE. 
On 30 October, CCCE changed its corporate name and its mandate was extended: finance economic and financial development in over 60 countries – in Africa, the Mediterranean, Asia, the Pacific islands – and in the French overseas territories. 

1994
CFD was entrusted with the management of the French Facility for Global Environment (Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial – FFEM)

FFEM was set up following the Rio Summit to support the sustainable development components of projects financed for developing countries (with no geographical restriction).
 

1998
Caisse Française de Développement became Agence Française de Développement – AFD
Logo AFD in 1998

In the context of the reform of France’s cooperation policy, it was designated as the main operator for France’s development assistance, under the dual supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of the Economy and Finance.

2001
France launched the Debt Reduction-Development Contract (C2D)
"Excellence Learning school" in Niamey, Niger

In order to implement the bilateral component of the debt cancellation decided at the G8 meeting in 1999, France asks eligible countries to continue to honor their obligations, but as soon as the repayment has been made, AFD, which is in charge of the implementation of the mechanism, repays them the corresponding amount in the form of grants earmarked for poverty reduction programs.

2003
10 December
AFD’s area of operation opened up to emerging countries
City of Medellín, Colombia

AFD was authorized to operate in China and Turkey on an experimental basis, then subsequently (2007) in Brazil, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. 

In 2009, Latin America also became a fully-fledged area of operation. 
 

2009
AFD started financing civil society initiatives
Fighting Ebola, Guinea

The Government assigned AFD the mandate of financing the initiatives of French or international civil society organizations (CSOs), which had previously been managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

2015
AFD integrated the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
global goals

Following a conference in Addis Ababa, to highlight the new challenges for financing for development, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs. They provide each country with a roadmap to eradicate poverty, preserve the environment and the climate, and support good governance and prosperity. 

In December, the Paris Climate Agreement was signed.
 

2016
The Government strengthened AFD’s action
François Hollande during AFD's 75th anniversary

France revived its development policy and increased its development assistance budget: an additional EUR 4bn by 2020, including EUR 2bn for the climate. 

AFD celebrated its 75th anniversary.
 

2017
Strategic alliance between AFD and Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations
Signature of the AFD-CDC strategic alliance

The closer ties between Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) mark a new phase in AFD’s life. 

The Strategic Alliance Charter signed on 6 December 2016 defines, for a period of five years, the cooperation methods between AFD and CDC. It provides France with a powerful and coherent financing mechanism for sustainable development both at home and abroad. 
 

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