Monk in Vat-Phu Champassak

AFD is proud of its daily commitment for Laos' economic and social development

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20 years in Laos


For 20 years in Laos, AFD has committed € 133 million in 40 national projects.

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Rural development: a flagship initiative supported by AFD for the country !


In most of Northern Provinces in Laos, access to water – for domestic use or agriculture – is still limited. In the mountainous areas in the North, AFD supports a project which aims at improving livelihoods through building clean water supply schemes and irrigation schemes. The initiative has been publicly recognized by the Government.

A flattering official visit

In Luang Prabang province, North of Laos, 7 villages have now access to water for agriculture all year round thanks to the irrigation schemes built in the framework of the Northern Upland Development project. This is a fundamental step forward for these villages living from agriculture.

It is in this province that Dr Phuang Parisak Pravongviengkham, Vice Minister of Agriculture from the Lao Governement, came to visit the schemes on May 27.

He took this opportunity to gather chiefs of villages, authorities from province and district level and to convey key messages. According to Dr. Parisak, this is one of the flagship initiative on the implementation of ‘Samsang’ decentralizing policy and it shows good achievements in the practice on capacity development.

He also insisted on the demonstration of the participation of people jointly with government and the development partners.   

Irrigation in mountainous zones

By August 2017, the project, through its infrastructure component, will have supported 88 clean water supply schemes and 31 irrigation schemes.

These schemes changed the life of the inhabitants: around 50,000 person benefits directly from the improvement of the living conditions. Producers can have access to water directly into their fields, and the time when women have to walk for 2 hours to get water for domestic usage is over!

In Mountainous areas, irrigation benefits both during the rainy season and the dry season. During the dry season, it enables the farmers to maintain and diversify the production; and to regulate the water during the rainy season. Moreover, irrigation schemes contribute to the reduction of slash and burn as it is a facility to diversify and increase the production on a defined area.

Strengthening capacities, key challenge

For the deputy governor of Luang Prabang Province, Mr. Bouakong Namnavong, the most important for the villages is to get organized:

-          In group of producers : to allow them a better management of the production

-          In water users groups to define management rules to protect the resource

The government insisted on the importance of building capacity of farmers and local authorities, both on technical aspects and on operation and maintenance. Economic benefits are ensured by the optimal use of the infrastructures and their sustainability. 

Overview of the French cooperation in Laos


Since 1994, AFD commited around EUR 230 millions to Laos. Agriculture and urban heritage at the heart of our activities in the country, with a strong involvement of the civil society. The review of the bilateral cooperation between France and Laos took place at the end of May and was an opportunity to present jointly the activities of the Embassy and the AFD.

EUR 230 million committed since 1994: result of AFD activities in Laos. This figure has been presented during the portfolio review of the French and Lao cooperation, organized on May 18 2017 by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the French Embassy and AFD.

Among these EUR 230 million mainly assigned to the Government, loans account for EUR 80 million euros and grants for EUR 150 million.

Priority to agriculture and urban heritage

AFD is strongly involved in agriculture and rural development through supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. The main objectives :

  • Ensuring food security
  • Promoting competitive agricultural commodities
  • Developing clean, safe and sustainable agriculture

Considering this long-term involvement and the strong French expertise in the sector, it was reminded that France co-chairs, together with the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Sector Working Group where Laotian authorities and development partners share strategies and information.

AFD’s long-term involvement in cultural heritage conservation and urban development was also highlighted by the presentation by the World Heritage Offices of Luang Prabang and Vat Phou of the cooperation programmes under way, which objectives are to build capacities of local authorities to adequately balance heritage conservation and urban development.

Impact in the Mekong region

In addition to the national projects, AFD Laos is engaged in regional initiatives:

  • Support to the Mekong River Commission for a better cooperation of Mekong States in the development of the Mekong Basin. In 2017-2018, France will take the lead in the dialogue between the MRC and its development partners.
  • Support to the Institut Pasteur’s network for a better monitoring of vector-borne diseases, especially dengue and leptospirosis.
  • Support to the World Conservation Society’s initiative for the conservation of protected areas by the involvement of local communities and of the private sector.


Strong involvement of the civil society

French NGOs working in Laos are numerous and actives. AFD supports 7 projects in the fields of agriculture (AgriSud, CCL, GRET, SFE), ecotourism (Tetraktys), oral health (AOI) and UXO (HI)

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

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