AFD in South Africa

Willing to support local and regional development, the Johannesburg  agency now funds more than thirty projects and has increased its activity by four between 2004 and 2008 to meet the financing needs of projects for  the region's development. Photo © Coda


  • AFD is one of the endorsing partner of the ecomobility World festival

The Agence Française de Développement and Bpifrance have together launched a digital innovation competition open to African and French start-ups working for development in Africa


For the first time, the Agence Française de Développement, which for almost 75 years has been funding development projects in Africa, and Bpifrance, have joined forces to launch the "Digital Africa Start-up Challenge", an innovation competition to promote the development of digital start-ups in Africa. African and French start-ups have until 15 November 2016 to submit their applications in the fintech, health, environment-energy and agricultural sectors.

Applications may be submitted until 15 November 2016 via the Platform :  


What motivated this challenge?

Africa is more and more connected, particularly due to the rapid adoption of mobile telephony, and has become a continent of digital innovation. The development of mobile payments and the increasing adoption of smart phones and broadband Internet are among the many factors that now enable digital entrepreneurs to propose new products and services in all economic sectors. The dynamism of digital ecosystems has led to an increase in the number of technological hubs, co-working units, laboratories and incubators, of which there are now more than 300 on the continent.

Given this context, the AFD and Bpifrance wanted to pool their experience in the financing of digital innovation and development. The "Startup Challenge Digital Africa" should encourage and support new players in the digital economy, accelerate the sharing of know-how and facilitate the emergence of new solutions for development.

Four sectors have been chosen for their dynamism and potential impact for development of the continent:

  • fintech
  • health
  • environment/energy
  • agriculture

What are the rewards for the winners?

A jury will choose two start-up winners, one African and one French, in each of the four sectors (i.e. eight start-ups).
Another two start-ups, one African and one French will be selected by online voters.
In all, 10 start-ups will thus be rewarded.
They will be invited to come and present their project and meet partners during the 27th Africa-France Summit, to be held at Bamako on 13 and 14 January 2017.

How to apply?

African and French entrepreneurs should submit the key elements of their entrepreneurial project online at before 15 November 2016, and must indicate in which of the four categories they wish to compete, namely fintech, health, environment/energy or agriculture.

A qualified jury and two renowned sponsors

The jury will be made up of qualified African and French personalities and representatives of the AFD and Bpifrance. The Digital Africa Start-up Challenge is sponsored by two influential entrepreneurs in the world of technology and innovation: 14 January 2017.

Karim Sy 
An entrepreneur based in Dakar
Founder of the Jokkolabs network (the 1st African collaborative working space)

Gilles Babinet 
A French entrepreneur, Founder of Africa4Tech
First chairman of the French Digital Council France’s “Digital Champion” and one of the European Commission’s Digital Ambassadors

The AFD and Bpifrance

Rémy Rioux, Director General of the AFD claims: "Digital technology may be an incredible accelerator of sustainable development in Africa, on condition that each entrepreneur is able to benefit from the innovation springboard. The Agence Française de Développement wants to accompany this wave of transition, which offers new trajectories for growth, by supporting southern entrepreneurs whose projects are promising for the continent and by promoting interactions between northern and southern entrepreneurs. This is why the AFD and Bpifrance decided to work together to launch this competition."

Nicolas Dufourcq, Director General of Bpifrance, declares: "The technological leaps occurring in Africa and the emergence of a young middle-class have created exceptional development opportunities for African and French companies. We are proud to participate in this competition, which is in line with our actions for promoting the internationalisation of companies and cooperation with the African continent."

About Bpifrance

Bpifrance , a subsidiary of the Caisse des Dépôts and the French state, a trusted partner of French entrepreneurs, supports companies from start-up to flotation on the stock exchange by granting loans, acting as guarantor and by investing. Bpifrance also provides support services that reinforce innovation, external growth and exports, in partnership with Business France and Coface.

Bpifrance offers companies a complete range of financing for every key stage of their development, and offers that are adapted to regional specificities. With 47 regional branches (90% of decisions are taken in the regions), Bpifrance is an economic competitiveness tool at the service of entrepreneurs.

Bpifrance acts to implement French government policy and Regional policies in order to achieve three objectives:

  • reinforce the growth of companies ; 
  • prepare their competitiveness for the future ;
  • contribute to the development of an ecosystem that favours entrepreneurship.

In Bpifrance, companies have a powerful and effective partner, who follows their development closely in order to meet all of their needs for financing, innovation and investment.

Follow us on Twitter: @bpifrance

Rémy Rioux appointed Chief Executive Officer of Agence Française de Développement by the Council of Ministers today, 25 May 2016


Today, on a proposal made by François Hollande at the Parliament on 27 April 2016 and following a unanimous favorable vote of MPs and a majority of Senators, Mr. Rémy Rioux, 46, Deputy Secretary General of the French Ministry of Foreign affairs and International Development, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Agence Française de Développement, a Public Industrial and Commercial Establishment responsible for development in Southern countries and the French overseas territories. Rémy Rioux, AFD’s 11th Chief Executive Officer, will take over as head of AFD on 2 June 2016.

Rémy Rioux was born in June 1969 in Neuilly-sur-Seine and is an alumnus of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, rue d’Ulm, Sciences Po, and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration. He is a historian by training, a former student of Alain Corbin and Pierre Nora, and Senior Advisor at the Court of Auditors. During his career, he has alternately held responsibilities in France and for development in Africa.

Rémy Rioux appointed Chief Executive Officer of AFD © Alain Buu

At the age of 26, Rémy Rioux discovered Africa during an ENA internship in Benin, and subsequently by campaigning to promote the harmonization of business law in Africa. He has a love of this continent and has travelled across it throughout his career, established close ties there, and acquired a recognized expertise in development issues. He worked at the Directorate of the Treasury from 2004 to 2007, and subsequently from 2010 to 2012, where he contributed to modernizing monetary cooperation with African Franc Zone member countries, participated in the resolution of the Ivorian crisis, and contributed to making the issue of infrastructure and development central to the international agenda of the G20. At the time, he was a Member of the Boards of Directors of AFD and its subsidiary PROPARCO.

Rémy Rioux also conducted control missions in the energy and defense sectors at the Court of Auditors between 1997 and 2004. He worked at the Ministry of the Interior from 2000 to 2002, at the Office of the Minister Daniel Vaillant, where he was responsible for the budget and changeover to the euro. He also held a position at the State Holdings Agency (APE), from 2007 to 2010, as Chief Investment Officer responsible for the transport and media sectors, and sat on the Boards of Directors of various companies (SNCF, RATP, ADP, Renault, France Télévisions, France Médias Monde, Arte, le Grand Port Maritime du Havre).

In 2012, he was Director of the Office of the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Foreign Trade, Pierre Moscovici. He was actively involved in redefining economic relations between Africa and France and in the work conducted by Jacques Attali on economic Francophonie. Two years later, Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, appointed him Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry, in charge of economic issues. Alongside the Minister, he managed the financial component of the negotiations for COP21.

Following the announcement made by the French President in September 2015 of a revival of France’s Official Development Assistance policy and an increase in development and climate finance (by EUR 4bn by 2020, to reach EUR 12.5bn of annual commitments, including EUR 5bn for the climate), he was entrusted with a preparatory mission for the establishment of closer ties between Agence Française de Développement and Caisse des Dépôts, which aims to provide France with a tool capable of meeting the challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals.

He is a man of dialogue and conviction and is deeply attached to the Massif Central region, particularly Corrèze and Lozère, where he regularly stays with his wife and three children.

Key Dates

  • 26 June 1969: Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
  • 1997: Auditor at the Court of Auditors on leaving ENA (Marc Bloch Class), where he became Senior Advisor in 2013
  • 2001 and 2002: Budget Advisor at the Office of Daniel Vaillant at the Ministry of the Interior
  • 2003: Control missions in the energy and defense sectors at the Court of Auditors
  • 2004: General Directorate of the Treasury, Head of the Office for Monetary and Development Cooperation with African, Caribbean, Pacific and Franc Zone countries
  • 2007: Deputy Director for the transport and audiovisual sectors at the State Holdings Agency (APE)
  • 2010: Deputy Director for international financial affairs and development at the General Directorate of the Treasury
  • 2012 to 2014: Director of the Office of Mr. Pierre Moscovici at the Ministry of the Economy and Finance
  • 2014: Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development in charge of economic affairs
  • 2015: Responsible for financial matters in the French negotiation team for COP21.
  • June 2016: Appointed the 11th Chief Executive Officer of Agence Française de Développement.

Movies SUnref1 in South Africa are available on our Website


AFD has just put online  movies to present the credit lines SUNREF1 which we financed with ABSA, IDC and Nedbank between 2012 and 2015.

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