AFD began its operations in Ghana in 1985, opening its first representation in an English speaking country. Since 1986, AFD has concentrated its operations on major economic infrastructure development projects in the country, mainly in the telecommunications, transport and energy sectors. Photo © Paul Williams
Under the auspices of the French Embassy in Ghana, Proparco (AFD’s subsidiary fully dedicated to private sector financing) organised a press conference to present its activities in West Africa, and particularly in Ghana, as well as its financial tools, on 1st December 2015, at the Residence of the Ambassador of France. According to Mr Laurent Farge, the Regional Director for West Africa, Proparco does not compete with commercial banks but rather complements their activities by providing long term financing with loan maturity of more than 5 years (and up to 15 years).
Proparco creates the right environment for private sector growth
The minimum amount of funding Proparco provides is US$ 5 million, for the benefit of local “champions”, to enable them to compete globally. Proparco also supports local banks so they can in turn on-lend to the lower segment of the private sector where Proparco cannot provide funding because it lacks the skills to understand the economic and competitive environment of small companies.
One instrument that may differentiate Proparco is that it also takes up shares in private companies. When it does, it usually invests in minority stakes, sometimes along with equity funds, with a focus to bring an institutional stance to the company, improve governance in a long term perspective since it is a patient investor.
It is worth noting that, half of Proparco’s volume of financing must go to sub-Saharan Africa.
AFD/Proparco’s commitments so far
AFD Group’s annual new commitments amount to more than € 8 billion a year, out of that Proparco makes € 1 billion worldwide. In Ghana, the total commitment of Proparco over the last five years is € 300 million. For example, Proparco together with AFD provided funding for the installation of a combined cycle at the Takoradi II Thermal Power Plant, increasing the amount of power produced using the same quantity of gas by 110 MW (from 200 MW to 310 MW). By 2020, AFD and Proparco are expected to increase their annual commitments by € 2 billion. Half of this amount will go into climate change mitigating and adaptation projects.
H. E. François Pujolas, the Ambassador of France in Ghana, underscored the relationship between Ghana and France which continues to grow as evidenced by H. E. John Mahama visiting H. E. François Hollande in Paris last October and again during the COP 21 United Nations conference.
Mrs Amélie July, AFD’s Resident Manager touched on the three areas of operation of AFD namely (i) Agriculture and Rural Development, (ii) Energy and (iii) Urban Development. She also stressed on AFD’s current strategy of focusing more on renewable energy financing directly to public institutions or government agencies without State guarantee.
On 09 December 2015, in the presence of H. E. François Pujolas, Ambassador of France to Ghana, Agricultural Development Bank Limited (ADB) and AFD celebrated the signing of the financial agreement for the implementation of Phase V of the Rubber Outgrowers Plantation Project (ROPP). This phase of the project will see the cultivation of 8,000 hectares of rubber by roughly 2,600 outgrowers, in over 400 communities in 33 districts across three regions in Ghana.
This non-sovereign concessional loan of 17.7 million Euros to Agricultural Development Bank Limited will significantly contribute to poverty alleviation through increased incomes for the beneficiary farmers. At peak, the beneficiaries are expected to produce on average 19,000 tons of dry rubber annually. The project will also contribute to the fight against climate change through carbon sequestration. Thirty percent (30%) of the targeted beneficiaries are women.
Twenty years of fruitful partnership between AFD and ADB
Five different phases of rubber and two different phases of oil palm cultivation by outgrowers have been implemented since 1995. The rubber component of the programme is being carried out under the Rubber Outgrowers Plantations Project, with Agricultural Development Bank Limited (ADB) as the financial operator, Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL) as the technical operator and the Rubber Outgrowers and Agents Association (ROAA) representing the outgrower farmers.
H. E. François Pujolas lauded the improvement in the bilateral cooperation between France and Ghana at the cultural, security, economic and educational levels, and expressed the belief that this is bound to continue. Amélie July, AFD Resident Manager in Ghana, applauded the fruitful 20 years of partnership between AFD and ADB, out of the 30 years of AFD’s operation in Ghana while Mr. Stephen Kpordzih, Managing Director of Agricultural Development Bank, congratulated AFD for the timeliness of its disbursements and also laid emphasis on the impact the project is having on the income of beneficiary farmers.
AFD organised a photo exhibition on the theme “60 solutions against climate change” on 10th November at Alliance Française in Accra during the National Schools Drawing Contest Award Ceremony jointly organised by the European Union in Ghana together with the Embassies of France and Norway, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Creating awareness of younger generations
Launched in September 2015 as part of the European Year for Development, and ahead of the Conference on Climate change (CoP 21), to be held in Paris in December, the National Climate Change Drawing Contest was organised under the theme "Seed for Change – Plant an idea to deal with climate change in Ghana”. The objective was to raise the awareness of younger generations on climate change and its consequences for the world as well as to stimulate the creativity of pupils in order to develop leadership for tomorrow.
Nine winning schools across Ghana received prizes for best drawings sponsored by the EU and Member States (France, Germany and the United Kingdom) as well as Norway and international NGOs. More than 400 schools submitted drawings in the 10 regions across Ghana after participating in information sessions run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the impact of climate change.
Solutions against climate change exist
It was an opportunity for AFD to exhibit 21 pictures from the “60 solutions to climate change” album produced by a world renowned photographer, Yann Arthus-Bertrand which is the result of the cooperation between the latter’s Foundation GoodPlanet, and AFD. The pictures are organized into four themes – living together, feeding the world, energy efficiency and adapting to change. It intends to illustrate that solutions against climate change exist as well as financing schemes.
The event saw the participation and active involvement of the Ambassadors of the European Union, France, Norway, the Deputy Ambassador of UK, the Deputy Minister of MESTI, the Former President of Ghana, H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor, the United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Change who cut the tape to signify the opening of the exhibition. This was followed by an explanatory tour of the exhibition by AFD’s Resident Manager.
AFD Accra organized a photographic exhibition of seven of its projects funded in Ghana on the occasion of the celebration of its 30th anniversary in the country. The exhibition began its tour from the capital, at Alliance Française of Accra, then to Kumasi Alliance Française, in the Ashanti region, through the Takoradi Sports Club, in the Western region, before returning finally to Accra.
The exhibition centered on two projects from the Energy sector (Extension of the Takoradi Thermal Power Plant and Rehabilitation of the Kpong Hydroelectric Dam); two projects from the Urban Development sector (Awoshie - Pokuase road construction and District Development Fund); two projects from the Agriculture and Environment Sector (Development of Rubber Plantations and Conservation of Lake Bosumtwi) and finally, a private sector project (Microfinance to disadvantaged women through ID Ghana).
This event was an opportunity to reach the general public outside Accra and make known AFD's activities. This enabled Civil Society to ask relevant questions about these projects and AFD's activities in general.
In May 2015, AFD Accra celebrated its 30th anniversary in Ghana with four main events: a media tour to one of its flagship projects, an official launch of the anniversary, a roundtable and a photographic exhibition.
(i) Six media houses took part in the media tour to the Kpong Dam, an AFD project which consists of retrofitting the four turbines of the hydroelectric plant with a view to extend its life by 20 to 30 years.
(ii) An official launch of the anniversary which saw the participation of the Chief of Staff at the Presidency and other ministers and deputy ministers, including Mayors and many of our partners as well as the media, gave the opportunity to show the “30 Years of Partnership” film produced for this occasion. The film which received a high rating from participants illustrates five of AFD’s projects in Agriculture, Urban Development, Energy and the Private Sector.
(iii) A roundtable on “Aid Effectiveness in Ghana”, held at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Affairs (GIMPA), which gave AFD the opportunity to throw the spotlight on itself and to revisit the issue of how aid should be administered by traditional and new development partners.
(iv) And finally, a photographic exhibition, produced out of seven other AFD projects in Ghana, was launched at Alliance Française, Accra. The exhibition will go on a tour to Takoradi in the Western Region and Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
Alain Ries was with AFD Accra for the two-day event. He was a panelist at the GIMPA roundtable; he also awarded a retired employee of AFD Accra a medal to signify 20 years of service.