2016: a record year

 

AFD has just released its annual results. After a particularly eventful year in 2015, marked by the adoption of a new global development agenda, 2016 delivered on its promises: EUR 9.4bn of commitments – a record, 657 projects and a strategic alliance with Caisse des Dépôts. 2016 turned out to be a milestone year.

 

The reaffirmed priorities – climate, Africa, gender – and new areas of action for the future – digital technology, social business, migrations – speak for themselves: more than ever before, AFD has a major role to play in supporting the emergence of a common world.

 

Interview with Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of AFD.

 

Following a particularly eventful year in 2015 (Addis Ababa, SDGs, COP21), 2016 was the first year of implementation of the new global development agenda. Has AFD achieved its objectives?

France renewed its commitment to development in 2015. It was a groundbreaking year during which the international community made all sorts of multilateral commitments. This international signal sent out by the SDGs and COP21 was heard by development actors, but also by the French, who are becoming increasingly aware that the challenges facing the world concern us all. The seeds have been sown for fresh impetus to be given to our development policy. 

2016 was marked by several key events for AFD: the Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID) of 30 November, our 75th anniversary, our strategic alliance with Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, our recapitalization, and a record commitment of EUR 9.4bn – up 13% in a year. With its objective of reaching EUR 13bn a year by 2020, AFD has set out on a dynamic and ambitious path to support the major transitions in developing countries and the French overseas territories. Our results and new strategy attest to our growth. More than ever before, AFD is seeking to play a meaningful role in supporting the emergence of a common world. And 2017 has got off to a very good start!


 What were the main priorities in 2016?

Africa, the climate and gender are the priorities of our commitment.

 

 

Africa has always been the major concern, the priority for AFD, which has longstanding and in-depth knowledge of African realities. The destinies of Europe and Africa are clearly and immediately intertwined. By developing a new vision, we have coined the term “All Africa”: What would we see if we stopped cutting Africa in half, between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa? It is high time we see Africa as a whole, as Africans themselves see it, by taking into account the many dynamics which are at work.

With EUR 4bn of commitments in 2016, Africa accounted for 50% of our activities in foreign countries. These dynamics are set to continue: over the next five years, AFD should be committing EUR 23bn on the continent, with flagship projects such as the Zagtouli solar power plant in Burkina Faso, the largest in West Africa – much larger than all the French solar power plants!

50% of our financing also has a beneficial effect for the fight against climate change, and half of our financing contributes to equal rights between women and men. For example, we have just signed a credit line with the Turkish development bank TSKB to support women’s entrepreneurship. In India, we have financed a metro line in Kochi with a condition: only women drivers! Our commitment for women is not just a moral requirement, but also ensures effectiveness: when women are involved in project implementation or policy design, a much higher development impact is measured.  


As we enter a new presidential mandate, what are the new orientations for AFD?

AFD is growing larger and stronger. Our activity is going to increase to EUR 12.7bn by 2020. This growth involves more partnerships to finance more projects and enhance their content.

We also want to give our Agency a greater capacity for innovation, for both its financial instruments and sectors of operation. AFD is going to explore new thematic areas, such as governance, cultural and creative industries, higher education and research, digital technology, the social and solidarity-based economy and the external action of local authorities, without forgetting education in development and international solidarity, to which we are going to contribute, as development is everybody’s business. 

This drive for innovation also means moving into new geographical areas of operation: AFD already works in over a hundred countries. It has just opened offices in Cuba and Argentina and is prospecting in the Balkans.
AFD is an extremely dynamic instrument that is forever growing.

 

 

Does the new unfolding political context bode well for AFD’s ambitions?

For the first time, development had a real place in the presidential election debates, which I am very pleased about. In his inaugural speech, our new President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, set out France’s international action as a core component of his agenda. “We are all neighbors”, stated the President. 

I also had the honor of joining him on his first international trip to Gao in Mali, with the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for the Armed Forces, Sylvie Goulard, and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Pierre de Villiers. During this trip, the French President declared: “I will take steadfast action for the development of the region (…) within a Sahel Alliance. I want these roads of terrorism, war, need, to become roads of freedom.”

AFD stands ready to serve the priorities of the French President

 

Read the press release
Find out more about the results for 2016

Last update in May 2017

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