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covid coronavirus AFD action aide publique développement
A worldwide health and economic emergency has emerged from the coronavirus pandemic. Since March, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) has been working to provide a multi-pronged response. It is translating into action the French Government’s commitment to support priority countries for France’s Official Development Assistance.

This page lists all the initiatives launched by AFD to tackle Covid-19 and its consequences. It is updated regularly. 


This initiative was approved by AFD’s Board of Directors on 2 April. It is an initial response to the health crisis and its immediate economic and social consequences, mainly for African and Middle East countries. To meet the needs arising out of the crisis, AFD has mobilized €150 million in grants and €1 billion in concessional loans, and we have restructured existing loans and grants. 

Further reading: France Launches, via AFD, the “Covid-19 – Health in Common” Initiative to Support African Countries

The initiative involves a fast-track appraisal of operations by AFD teams at its headquarters in France and at field offices.  They are then submitted to decision-making bodies, which meet regularly to assess – and where appropriate, approve – the projects presented. 

As of 12 May 2020, 16 projects have been approved for a total grant amount of €60 million, mainly for African countries. The aim is to strengthen their health systems, support medical research activities, increase patient screening and treatment capacity, and deploy epidemiological surveillance and alert management systems. 

AFD’s objective is to appraise all the operations of the “Covid-19 – Health in Common” initiatives and have them approved by the summer. These operations will include projects to combat the epidemic, as well as budget support programs to finance public health policies and bank credit lines to assist companies weakened by the crisis.


AFD is working with several institutional partners to provide the most effective responses to the health crisis in Africa and the Middle East.

With the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM), AFD is implementing a €1.5 million project to help hospitals prepare the operational response to Covid-19 (Aphro-Cov) in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Mali and Senegal.

AFD has also partnered with Institut Pasteur and is providing €2 million to its establishments in Niger, Senegal, Guinea, the Central African Republic and Madagascar to help them carry out their national and regional mandate as a Covid-19 referral laboratory.

In partnership with the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), AFD is implementing a project in six West African and Central African countries to help national authorities prepare for and respond to the epidemic. This partnership is mobilizing €2.2 million.

With the Mérieux Foundation, AFD aims to strengthen screening capacities in seven West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo). This project is mobilizing €1.5 million.

In cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), AFD has launched a program to support the Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon. The objective is to identify and implement measures to respond to the health crisis.


Following their meeting on 15 April, the G20 Finance Ministers announced their decision to suspend debt servicing in 2020 for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and members of the International Development Association (IDA). 

The G20 has also asked private and multilateral creditors to do the same. This decision was discussed and agreed by consensus within the Paris Club.

AFD in particular is preparing the suspension and rescheduling of overdue payments with effect from 1 May for eligible countries that request it. The amount of the deferred principal and interest due could reach some €200 million, depending on the requests submitted to AFD and the limits to be defined.

Further reading: Paris Club statement on debt suspension 


It is essential to support policies and plans implemented by countries and territories, including in the form of counter-cyclical operations. The aim is to manage the health crisis, support the business fabric and revive economies so that they can continue on trajectories in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

In Latin America and Asia, AFD is meeting its partners’ requests and is fast-tracking the appraisal of operations to respond to the health crisis and its economic and social consequences. They are mainly in the form of credit lines to support SMEs penalized by the economic paralysis and budget financing for public policies aimed at combating the epidemic.

Proparco, AFD Group’s subsidiary, is also strengthening the follow-up of its clients and is offering them solutions to face the economic crisis, which include making existing loans more flexible (payment suspensions and changes of purpose). Additional financing may be provided to support economic recovery and revival after the health crisis.


AFD is continuing and adapting its forms of support for French civil society organizations (NGOs, associations, unions, foundations) that have been weakened by the health crisis. French NGOs have benefited from €31 million of grant support since the onset of the health crisis.

Further reading: “NGOs: AFD is supporting 16 new projects”

At the same time, AFD has stepped up its dialogue with partner organizations and increased the flexibility of its support methods, while redirecting ongoing operations towards Covid-19 crisis responses.

For example, the NGO ALIMA (Alliance for International Medical Action) is leading a €2 million project to provide crisis support to the Ministries of Health in Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 


AFD has initiated discussions with its partners at the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) to prepare programs and projects to respond to the health crisis in their countries or regions of operation. This is the case with the West African Development Bank (BOAD), CAF in Latin America and DBSA in South Africa.

AFD, which has chaired IDFC and housed the club’s secretariat since October 2017, is also working on the coordination of members’ initiatives.

There are also a number of ongoing discussions with the multilateral development banks to provide a joint response, in particular with the World Bank Group, but also with the Asian Development Bank (AsDB), African Development Bank (AfDB), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).

AFD’s discussions with the European Commission are also important. The European Union and its Member States are currently putting together a global Covid-19 response program to help countries address the health and economic ramifications of the crisis. The amount of the program will exceed €20 billion, including €15.6 billion that has already been announced by European institutions. AFD will be contributing to it in close coordination with its European partners, for example, by managing the EU’s financial guarantees and providing liquidity to SMEs weakened by the crisis.

Expertise France, which will join AFD Group in January 2021, is also setting up a Covid-19 technical assistance platform for health. It will implement swift actions to strengthen regional surveillance networks and help public authorities in partner countries detect and prevent the spread of the pandemic.