2016, a record year for AFD


With a record year in 2016 marked by EUR 9.4bn of commitments, AFD is taking action in new fields, particularly in continental Africa

Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of AFD, presented today AFD’s results for 2016, from the perspective of its strategy for 2020.

At the request of the French President in 2015, AFD has significantly increased the volume of its financing, in line with the international community’s objectives (SDGs, Paris Climate Agreement), formed its strategic alliance with Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, and extended its scope of operations. 



Rémy Rioux, its Chief Executive Officer, explains AFD’s strategy: “2016, the year of its 75th anniversary, was marked by the increase in AFD’s commitments, its strategic alliance with Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, and the strengthening of its partnerships with civil society, territorial authorities, the private sector, bilateral and multilateral development banks, European institutions and the major foundations. With EUR 9.4bn of commitments, AFD has set out on an ambitious growth path to support the major transitions in developing countries and the French overseas territories. With its new strategy, AFD will be playing a leading role in supporting the emergence of a common world.”

In 2015, the French President set for AFD the objective of increasing its activity by +60% by 2020 to some EUR 13bn of annual commitments. It set out on this growth path in 2016.

EUR 9.4bn of projects were financed by AFD: i.e. +13% in 1 year.

Africa, all Africa, is AFD’s priority, with some EUR 4bn of commitments in 2016, a +25% increase.

  • Between 2010 and 2016, EUR 22bn were committed in Africa.
  • In January 2017, at the Bamako Summit, the French President made an even more ambitious commitment for AFD: EUR 23bn will be committed for Africa over the next five years.
  • AFD has supported renewable energy development by committing EUR 600m in Africa in 2016. It plans to devote EUR 3bn to the sector by 2020.

AFD is operating in new countries and new sectors: 

  • Argentina, Cuba, the Balkans: AFD will be extending its geographical area of operations towherever the support of a committed and solidarity-focused development bank is useful.
  •  AFD’s new strategy opens up areas of action for the future, in sectors in which AFD did not previously operate or had limited activity: governance, cultural industries, higher education, innovation and digital technology, social business, the external action of local authorities, education in development and international solidarity.

AFD and CDC: A strategic alliance active in the field

The strategic alliance between the two institutions, signed on 6 December 2016, is being operationalized in the field. At international level, it is leading to common tools, such as the EUR 600m infrastructure investment fund, whose creation was recently announced by the two Chief Executive Officers in Burkina Faso. In France, it is bringing about a closer partnership with regional and local authorities and all development actors in territories.


AFD’s action in 2016

Action on the five continents:

  • 50% of AFD’s financial commitments in foreign countries (some EUR 4bn in 2016, i.e. +25% in one year) are devoted to Africa, all Africa, a priority for AFD’s action, where 84% of the budget resources allocated by the State are focused. In its new strategy, AFD considers Africa as a whole: from Morocco to South Africa, from Senegal to Djibouti, with its regional dynamics, without separating the North of the Sahara from the South.
  • 20% in Asia and the Pacific to finance low-carbon projects (EUR 1.3bn in 2016).
  • 20% in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a focus on sustainable urban development (EUR 1.1bn in 2016).
  • 10% in the Middle East to finance inclusive and resilient growth (EUR 741m in 2016).
  • In 2016, AFD also earmarked EUR 1.6bn of financing for the French overseas authorities.

The markers of AFD’s action: 6 x 50%
AFD, France’s development bank, which is solidarity-focused and committed to working for populations in the South and the French overseas territories, bases its action on 6 strong markers:

  • 50% of its commitments abroad are in Africa
  • 50% of its activity concerns French-speaking countries and territories
  • 50% of its projects have positive impacts on the climate
  • 50% of its projects contribute to reducing gender inequalities
  • 50% of its beneficiaries are non-State actors (State-owned or private companies in Southern countries, local authorities, public institutions, NGOs, banks) 
  • 50% of its projects are cofinanced with other donors

AFD finances sustainable growth paths that contribute to the five major transitions which both developing and developed countries are undergoing: demographic and social transitions, territorial and ecological transition, energy transition, digital and technological transition, political and citizen-based transition.

Solutions which bring about positive impacts for populations

In 2016, AFD financed 657 development projects, which have, for example:

  • improved urban transport in New Caledonia;
  • managed tensions between host and refugee populations in Lebanon and Jordan;
  • built Burkina Faso’s energy autonomy;

Projects with measurable concrete impacts every year. Over the past 5 years, on average: 

  • 730,000 family farms supported;
  • 665 MW of renewable energies installed;
  • improved access to water and sanitation for 1.2 million people;
  • 54,000 SMEs supported;
  • 832,000 children sent to school.

 ► Find out more about the results for 2016

Plan Sierra: Seeds of hope in the Dominican Republic


Since 2001, AFD has been financing a unique program combining reforestation, soil protection and natural resources development in the Cordillera Central. Fifteen years on, the lives of the residents of the Sierra region have been changed.

In the mountainous regions of the center of the Dominican Republic, logging, slash-and-burn farming and intensive farming had a devastating impact in the 20th century: deforestation, eroded soils and depletion of water resources. Here, like elsewhere, there have been inevitable consequences: rural exodus and loss of economic activity in the territories. In a context of agrarian revolutions, governments took measures in the late 1960s. Land was informally invaded, but with no real support, a response was necessary.

Pine trees and coffee trees to recover land
Plan Sierra is a public-private partnership which came about in 1979 in the watershed region of the Yaque del Norte River in the Northwest of the country. It was launched by a group of emigrants in the USA and local leaders and has been supported by AFD since 2001. “Before”, explains Juan Rodríguez, a forester, “a lot of land had been cleared here because we, as residents who lived here, worked on the conucos (family slash-and-burn farming) and illegal logging”. “Mentalities have changed”, adds Victor Tolentino, one of his neighbors who is mainly a herder. “With support from Plan Sierra, we started by sowing pine trees. But, like me, the vast majority of herders now also plant trees. In addition to being beneficial to the environment, it is also a commercial activity… Thanks to this, we have brought comfort to our animals and life to our countryside!”.
Pine trees, coffee trees, fruit trees… It involved covering soils in order to recover the territory in an ecological way. “We sought alternatives to mitigate the impact of livestock raising in the Sierra region”, explains Eddy Peralta, Executive Director of Plan Sierra, “And we succeeded in setting up sylvopastoral systems in which there is a harmonious combination of trees, pastures and dairy farming”.

Economic and social renewal in the Sierra region
Fifteen years on, it can be said that the results speak for themselves: production has risen from 700 liters of milk a day to over 20,000 liters. The sustainable intensification via sylvopastoral systems is driven by strong demand and is a major success. The Sierra region now has the most modern tree nursery in the country. To date, Plan Sierra has allowed the reforestation of over 7,400 hectares. 89 sylvopastoral systems have been set up, with a total surface area of 329 hectares. After experiencing a strong rural exodus, particularly with emigration to the USA, the region is undergoing a real economic and social renewal. 591 families have benefited from the creation of supply systems with technical assistance from Plan Sierra. 3,780 participants have attended 183 awareness-raising activities (workshops, conferences and lessons) conducted by Plan Sierra.

Holistic approach to environmental conservation
Plan Sierra is not, however, a program just about improving agricultural practices. Sanitation, waste management, access to rural credit and even tourism… everything is integrated. “Right from the start, the idea was to manage both the ecosystem and the socio-system”, points out Grégory Villeneuve, AFD’s Director in the Dominican Republic. “All the strengths and originality of Plan Sierra lie in the fact that it is a truly holistic plan to preserve a rural territory. In order to give communities the guarantee that they can permanently stay in the region, the challenge involved creating wealth-generating mechanisms that take environmental conservation into account”. 

Access to good quality water for residents
Finally, water supply is a major aspect of the project. In the Sierra region, many families used to live 2 to 3 km away from water points… In addition, both the availability and quality of this essential resource were adversely affected by ancient farming practices. In the context of the plan, supply and irrigation systems were developed via local management organizations. The aim was not only to ensure that a pipe was connected to each household, but also to ensure that good quality water came out of it.

Taking things further…
“A number of successes can be put down to Plan Sierra”, adds Inmaculada Adames, President of Plan Sierra. “They need to be built upon… With AFD, we are drawing up the guidelines for a possible Plan Sierra III, which could involve local authorities more. We are also holding discussions with the Dominican Government to see how we can extend and improve this experience, not only in the Yaque watershed, but also with the other seven major watersheds which make up the Dominican territory.”

In Santo Domingo, integrated urban development is reconciling the fight against pollution and the fight against poverty


It is an innovative urban development project to which AFD has just provided its financing in the Dominican capital. In the program: the displacement and rehousing of 8,000 residents of a marginalized neighborhood, living by a highly polluted and flood-prone river, and the creation of a waterway bus system, which will be connected to the extension of the second metro line – the third component of the financing.
Gilles Genre-Grandpierre and Marie Joly, from the AFD agency in the Dominican Republic, tell us about the issues and details.

- In what way is the urban project that AFD is going to finance in the Dominican Republic innovative?

It is an innovative project in the Dominican Republic and in the Latin America and Caribbean region, as economically and socially it includes completely marginalized communities in an urban planning scheme, which also comprises the development of public transport and the fight against pollution.

Firstly, the project reconciles economic, social and environmental objectives: the displacement of extremely poor communities from outlying neighborhoods, which are flooded for four months a year, to a new area, and the creation of a waterway transport system (Acuabús) linked to the project to extend the metro. This project has been expressly designed to allow these communities to reach the centers of economic and social activity in Santo Domingo by cheap means of public transport with a low level of greenhouse gas emissions.
[The Santo Domingo metro has been created and is operated by a French consortium comprising Alstom, Thalès, TSO and CIM.]

Secondly, it is led by a Special Committee, which brings together institutional and private actors (Government, urban community, city, civil society, private companies, etc.) who have rarely worked together up to now.

- Can you give us some details about the various components of this program?

The project focuses on the eastern part of the city. This area is an example of the urban development challenges in the Dominican Republic. The project firstly involves displacing the La Barquita neighborhood towards a new area nearby, which has been developed and equipped with basic services and community facilities, where the residents will be rehoused. When there are storms, hurricanes and heavy rain, the lower part of the La Barquita neighborhood is systematically flooded and the level can reach 6m. The newly moved La Barquita neighborhood will also be subject to environmental rehabilitation by being transformed into a riverside park.

The rehoused residents mostly work in the informal sector with very low wages (half of them have monthly incomes of less than EUR 100, the minimum monthly salary in the Dominican Republic), and mainly use mototaxis, which are expensive and highly polluting. Instead, they will be able to use the new Acuabús waterway transport on the Ozama River, which has ten stations.

Finally, the Acuabús will be directly connected to one of the stations of the extension of line 2 of the metro, which will symbolically cross the Ozama River and have four additional stations.

- What are the expected effects and impacts of the project?

The aim of this ambitious pilot program, which will also serve as a model for the development of other precarious neighborhoods in Santo Domingo, is obviously to improve living conditions for communities in precarious neighborhoods and the residents of Santo Domingo East.

It involves:

  • Clearing precarious neighborhoods by improving housing conditions for some 8,000 people who are currently living in a flood-prone area and must leave their homes four months a year;
  • Restoring a balance to the city area by standardizing the level of equipment;
  • Reducing (through the metro extension) emissions by a maximum of 200,000 tons of CO2 compared to the baseline scenario;
  • Conserving natural resources and the environment in the city of Santo Domingo by taking action against the pollution of the river and the Caribbean Sea into which it flows.


Financial tool: Loan to the Dominican State
Loan amount: USD 210m

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