AFD in Ghana

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


Private sector at the bedside of health


Access to healthcare – and to high-quality care – is a challenge for a large section of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is often small private structures which meet needs in rural areas and for the poorest. The Medical Credit Fund foundation works alongside them and demonstrates that in the health sector, it is possible to effectively combine a social purpose with entrepreneurial projects.

Sub-Saharan Africa has 16% of the world’s population, but only accounts for 2% of global health expenditure. Yet over the years, population growth, the rise in chronic diseases, but also socioeconomic progress, have created an increasingly pressing demand for healthcare. But the African subcontinent suffers from a clear lack of investment.

In this extremely tense context, some 50% of total healthcare delivery is already provided by the private sector, which plays a key role at all levels, from healthcare provision to retail trade. It even has a predominant place in certain countries, such as Uganda or Ghana, with over 60% of total healthcare provision. “Contrary to common belief, the private sector is sometimes the only healthcare provider in rural areas and deprived urban areas”, explains Aurore Lambert, health project manager at AFD. “It is a far cry from provision just for rich people!”.

These structures are often small or medium-sized, yet they face two major problems which are intrinsically linked: the poor quality of healthcare and the difficulty of gaining access to financing to allow investments to address this. In reality, the banking sector generally considers that their activities are risky.


Some 600 health centers financed

Medical Credit Fund (MCF) is a foundation whose purpose is precisely to facilitate financing for these structures, while helping to improve their quality standards. The foundation is based in the Netherlands and is, for the time being, the only one of its kind. Since it was set up 5 years ago, MCF has financed 586 health centers, mainly in Kenya and Ghana, but also in Nigeria and Tanzania.

The average loan amount stands at EUR 20,000 and loans are mainly used to renovate buildings or purchase equipment. For example, a few months ago, South B Hospital, a small hospital structure with 45 beds located in a popular neighborhood of Nairobi, benefited from a loan to finance the creation of intensive care, nephrology and hemodialysis units. The hospital teams will follow a healthcare quality improvement program throughout the duration of the loan.


Photo Dorte Hopmans © Diorte


MCF is a not-for-profit foundation, but it is also a private actor: MCF does not allocate grants, but aims to grow in order to achieve financial equilibrium. Equilibrium ensures that the project is autonomous and gains in strength. “It is a social business”, explains Selvan Pajaniradja, who develops this sector of operations at AFD, “The aim is indeed to build high-quality health service provision for all at an affordable price. MCF consequently works for development, but at the same time generates the revenue which is essential for the sustainability of the project!”.


French-speaking Africa for tomorrow?

The originality of MCF can be seen in its inclusive and partnership-based method. The foundation works with local financial institutions, providing them with its knowledge of the health sector and assisting them in the appraisal and follow-up of files. “The aim is to work with local partners and help them develop their range of loans for the sector”, adds Aurore Lambert, “It involves showing that financing health services in Africa can be a profitable activity.” 

As the MCF project fits in with its core objectives for health and social business, in December 2016, AFD decided to take part in a funding round, via a EUR 3m concessional loan and EUR 1m grant from its social business facility. It has thereby joined up with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Calvert Foundation . AFD’s long-term objective is to help MCF establish itself in French-speaking Africa, in particular in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Senegal, where there are also considerable needs. “Given its expertise in the health and financial sectors in a number of countries”, points out Arjan Poels, Chief Executive Officer of MCF, “AFD is a key partner in supporting our project to improve the financing capacity of health structures and, more generally, healthcare quality in Africa.”

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

Reducing traffic jams and flooding through the Kumasi Extension Project


AFD has provided a concessional loan of 37.5 million Euros to the Government of Ghana to complete the upgrading of major road and drainage infrastructures in Kumasi. The Kumasi Roads and Drainage Extension Project will finalize the works undertaken under two previous projects financed by AFD, that is the Kumasi By-pass Project (construction of the Oforikrom-Asokwa by-pass and Lake Road) and the Second Urban Environmental and Sanitation Project (UESP II). 

Reducing traffic jams and flooding

The road component of the project is expected to reduce traffic jams, save time for the road users thereby contributing to the overall improvement in the development of the region.  The storm drain component of the project will tie in the 31-meter width channelized Aboabo Storm drain to the Lake Road culvert/bridge and extend the lined drain further downstream by 2 kilometres.  All these are expected to reduce flooding with the resultant effect of increasing productivity and economic activity.

Government of Ghana’s commitment to Ghana-France cooperation

In her speech on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Hon. Seth Terkper, the Deputy Minister, Hon. Mona Quartey who represented the Government of Ghana, assured of Ghana’s unflinching commitment to the tenets of the bilateral cooperation between Ghana and France and H. E. John Dramani Mahama, the President of the Republic of Ghana’s efforts to pursuing prudent policies aimed at stabilizing the economy and also increasing the pace of the country’s transformation.

Development oriented projects France’s focus

According to H.E. François Pujolas, France will continue to support Ghana in its efforts to provide a better standard of living to its citizens through development oriented projects such as the Kumasi Extension Project.  He also urged all parties involved in the execution of the project to work to ensure that the project is completed on schedule.

He also recalled that beyond support through AFD in terms of ODA projects, French expertise and businesses are ready to participate in PPP projects that will help develop Ghana’s infrastructure and shape the smart and sustainable cities of tomorrow.

The Credit Facility Agreement was signed in the presence of H. E. François Pujolas, by Hon. Mona Quartey on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Hon. Seth Terkper, and Xavier Muron, AFD’s Deputy Resident Manager, on 28th June 2016.


Two Ghanaian candidates awarded CEFEB/AFD's professional Master delivered in Marseilles, France


Mrs. Emmaline Ofosu and Ms. Paulina Bawa received from H.E. François Pujolas, French Ambassador to Ghana, the European Professional Master Certificate in "Economic Analysis and International Development” in Private Sector Financing from CEFEB (Centre for Financial, Economic and Banking studies).

Mrs. Emmaline Ofosu of Ecobank and Ms. Paulina Bawa of Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority responded to a call for submission of applications to the annual session sent to organisations from both public and private sectors of the economy, especially financial institutions and ministries.  

Successful applicants get the opportunity to go to Marseilles – France, to do this professional Masters Programme. Each programme is broken down into two sessions of 2½ months each, within the year.  Candidates are thus able to return to Ghana in between the two sessions to continue their official duties. 

As noted by H.E. François Pujolas, the French Ambassador to Ghana, the quality of the human capital of every country been vital in determining its economic growth, France is particularly happy to contribute to the development and growth of Ghana through this French Scholarship Programme, managed by AFD.

For more information on CEFEB, click on or

Mobility and Development : launch of the Accra TroTro Apps Challenge


Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), in partnership with AFD and MEST, is organizing the first ever Accra TroTro Apps Challenge on May 27-28. This competition brings together key players from the transport sector and the technology ecosystem to develop smartphone applications aimed at improving mobility in Accra. After 24 hours of brainstorming and coding, the jury will reward the most innovative solutions with cash prizes totaling 4,000 Ghana cedis.

With a current population of about 4 million and more than a million people commuting daily to the city for various socio-economic activities, Accra is faced with a significant public transport and mobility challenge. In 2015, AMA – in partnership with AFD and Concordia University (Canada) – gathered data on over 300 active trotro routes and hundreds of stops. This data will be officially made public for the first time at the TroTro Apps Challenge!

Every trotro route registered with local authorities was surveyed by a team of data collectors using GPS-enabled smartphones. This data was then used to design the first map of Accra’s transport network – unveiled by the Honorable Vanderpuije in December 2015.

This event is also meant to complement several infrastructure and transport projects currently being implemented in Accra. According to Mrs Amélie July, the Resident Manager of AFD, “In addition to financing new transport infrastructures and services – as we are doing on the Accra-Amasaman corridor, for instance – we want to promote a more efficient use of the existing transport system. That is what the Accra Trotro Apps Challenge is about: developing smarter ways for people to navigate the city using trotros”.


About the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA)
Accra Metropolitan Assembly is the local government body at the heart of the Greater Accra. One of its various mandates is to regulate and plan trotro and taxi services in the metropolis through its Department of Transport.

About the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MESTGhana)
Recognized as Fast Company's "Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Africa, MEST provides training, investment and incubation for aspiring African tech entrepreneurs. Established in Ghana in 2008, MEST offers aspiring African entrepreneurs a fully sponsored twelve month, intensive full-time program. Sourced from top graduates in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya & South Africa, these Entrepreneurs-In-Training (EITs) are selected each year and receive comprehensive training across the spectrum of skills required to build successful tech businesses.


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