Enriching knowledge of development issues

editorial by Alain Henry, Advisor to the Chief Economist at AFD

The global challenges of poverty and ecological risks are considerable. There are a whole host of emergencies. Globalization, which is commonly identified with the increase in trade, is even more marked by the rise in interdependencies and uncertainties. Climate change forecasts already exceed thresholds deemed acceptable, and CO2 production can no longer continue to increase at the current rate. Natural balances and biodiversity are under threat. In this context, the future climate agreements will need to be part of the development agenda. Poverty – which is only measured in terms of a minimum income – has admittedly declined in recent decades, but inequalities are widening everywhere. A large section of the world’s population continues to be deprived of a minimum of well-being. At the same time, middle classes in emerging countries aspire to a higher standard of living. In order to feed the planet by 2050, far-reaching institutional and societal changes will be necessary. The responses to these various challenges will need to be developed collectively, in a world marked by increasing political, cultural and social divides. AFD, alongside other donors, must provide new solutions to these issues.

In June 2014, AFD approved an ambitious knowledge production strategy for the coming years. It underscores its aim of enhancing its operations, through a better knowledge of the contexts of operations, and of contributing to international debates on development in an increasingly uncertain world.

Knowledge production at AFD aims to offer:

  • An alternative to mainstream and normative reflection on development, taking account of institutional specificities and the specific context of each country. This involves seeking to gain a better understanding of the links between economies and societies, and the way in which actors address problems and take ownership of rules that come from the outside.  
  • A multidisciplinary approach in order to gain a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of development trajectories.
  • Privileged access to the field thanks to the network of agencies, which allows relevant research questions on development to be formulated.
  • The production of studies which are nourished by its experience as an operational donor, support its operations and help to design future interventions.  
  • Recognized expertise in a number of fields, such as agroecology, microfinance, the sustainable city, energy efficiency, vocational training and financial innovation, for example.
  • Research areas in line with the main international debates on development: natural resources and green transitions, social cohesion and growth, urban growth, innovations, accountability and development indicators and, finally, new financing.
  • Input from all AFD’s divisions, not just its research unit, but also the unit that conducts the evaluations of the programs it finances, and the unit that carries out macroeconomic analyses of strategies and assesses risks by country. Finally, AFD participates in the production of economic and statistical data, which is an important issue, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa due to the weakness of statistical systems.
  • Partnerships with research institutes in developed, emerging and developing countries.
  • Numerous publications and conferences. Over the past ten years, AFD has published over 450 titles, via its various collections. It jointly organizes the European Research Development Network [EUDN] conference and the conference of the Rapid Economic Accounts for the French Overseas Territories [CEROM] and holds debates (iD4D conferences).


Last update in November 2014

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Find out more by following this link