Since its founding in 1941 as the Caisse Centrale de la France Libre, Agence Française de Développement has continued to adapt to the world’s changes to champion the universal values upheld by France, from solidarity, social justice and democracy, to gender equality, combating inequalities and climate change. We strive to meet these goals with total respect for our partners and clients, taking an equitable approach to collaborative relationships and communication. In confronting these global challenges, “AFD has always preferred sharing common values rather than imposing a unilateral vision,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said during the Group’s 80th anniversary celebrations in Paris on December 2, 2021.
At the event, Rémy Rioux, CEO of AFD Group, said at this “great adventure”, comes as the stakes of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have never been so high. Yet France remains committed on the international stage, supporting the five critical dimensions of the 2030 Agenda: people, prosperity, planet, partnerships, and peace.
Agence Française de Développement : fostering international solidarity
AFD contributes to the implementation of France’s development and international solidarity policy. Through its financing activities of the public sector and NGOs, its studies and research publications, training on sustainable development and awareness-raising in France, AFD finances, supports, and accelerates the transitions towards a more resilient and equitable world.
With our partners, we are building shared solutions with and for populations in developing and emerging countries. Our teams are at work on more than 4,000 projects in the field, in the French Overseas Departments and Territories, in 115 countries, and in regions in crisis.
We strive to protect global public goods – promoting a stable climate (with the aim of shifting to activities in line with the Paris Climate Agreement), biodiversity and peace (notably with the Minka Peace and Resilience Fund), as well as gender equality, education, healthcare and biodiversity. In this way, we contribute to the commitment of France and the French people to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To create a world in common.
We undertake these actions with our partners and on behalf of our clients, through the Team France development platform and now Team Europe. We carry out our mission together with our multilateral and bilateral partners, civil society organizations, foundations, municipalities, research centers, the more than 530 public development banks participating in the first two Finance in Common summits, and with the 27 organizations united for the past ten years in the International Development Finance Club (IDFC), over which AFD presides.
To reach its objectives, our Group invested more than €12 billion in foreign countries and France's overseas departments in 2020. In light of these results, French aid now represents 0.55% of the GNP and will reach 0.70% by 2025.
Expertise France: crucial support of shared knowledge and know-how
Effectively implementing these unprecedented resources requires a group with diverse, complementary expertise. To this end, Expertise France joined AFD Group as of January 1, 2022.
“Realizing the French President's ambition to ensure that our country fully cooperates with the rest of the world, the French Parliament passed legislation on August 4, 2021, for inclusive development and to combat global inequalities, which now make it possible for Expertise France to join AFD Group,” said Rémy Rioux. “This support confirms the Group's role as an operational platform, combining financial and technical dimensions, and possessing a unique range of sustainable development tools for supporting our clients.”
As an international technical cooperation agency, Expertise France works alongside partner countries to advise and support them in developing their public policies. Complementing its financial support for development, Expertise France offers technical cooperation as part of the response needed to confront the environmental, health, social, economic and safety challenges facing governments today.
In close cooperation with French public institutions as well as the European Union, Expertise France responds to requests from partner countries that want to improve the quality of their public policies to meet these challenges. To do this, Expertise France creates and implements large-scale regional and national projects in the main areas of public action. It mobilizes public and private technical expertise from French, European and international sources to support its projects and partners.
By placing the transfer of expertise and knowledge at the center of its actions, Expertise France contributes to the promotion of proven work methods, recognized legal and technical standards as well as a vision of economic development and governance that is respectful of the rule of law and human rights. It also focuses on communication among partners. In this way, it contributes to forming sustainable partner-based relationships among players in the international community that are committed to building a world in common.
"With the arrival of Expertise France in AFD Group, we can offer our partners complete and transparent development solutions and overall global cooperation,” said Expertise France CEO Jérémie Pellet. “We now have genuine synergy across our missions and geographical areas, with a common goal: to be able to do more than before, particularly for the youth, civil society, diaspora communities, and for human rights by strengthening our partners' institutions and public policies.”
Having carried out more than 500 projects in 100 countries in 2021, at a value of some €308 million, Expertise France is now the second leading technical cooperation agency in the world behind GIZ Germany.
Proparco, the private sector's role in development
With Proparco, AFD group can count on a subsidiary focused exclusively on the private sector that has promoted economic, social, and environmental sustainable development for more than forty years. Proparco contributes to the financing and support of companies and financial establishments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Its actions focus on key development sectors: infrastructure with an emphasis on renewable energy, agribusiness, financial institutions, health, education, and more.
Its operations benefit businesses and projects in emerging and developing countries and strive to support the contribution of private actors in achieving SDGs. For this purpose, Proparco funds companies whose activities help create jobs and decent wages and provide goods and essential services while also combating climate change. These operations contribute to the development of sustainable economic growth and help reduce poverty.
Through the years, Proparco has gradually diversified its financial tools, geographic scope of operations and shareholding structure to become one of the main European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI) with a share capital of €984 million.
“AFD and Proparco have always worked together to best respond to the needs of their clients. The integration of Expertise France reinforces this group, which stands out through the synergy of its different entities, its presence in more than one hundred countries, and the diversity of its areas of operation,” said Grégory Clemente, CEO of Proparco. “The respective strengths of AFD, Proparco and Expertise France allow AFD Group to set global standards for environmental, social, and governance issues. These strengths help both the private and public sectors do more to provide access to goods and essential services, create jobs and fight climate change.”
New ambitions, a new law
To support, guide, and supervise the actions of this expanded Group in a renewed strategic framework, the planning law for solidarity, development and combating global inequalities was enacted on August 4, 2021. The legislation reinforces the objective given to AFD Group and its partners to combat the underlying causes of crises by supporting the most vulnerable countries, particularly in Africa, in moving towards more resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth models.
This is also part of a multilateral framework that the international community set out in 2015 with the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on funding development, which is an indispensable framework for collectively responding to contemporary global challenges. There is also the restitution project for “ill-gotten goods” or property improperly acquired, beginning in November 2021 with the restitution of works taken from the Abomey Palace in Benin. The new law also imposes a strict requirement on the transparency, evaluation and monitoring of actions and results from AFD Group in the field.
With Expertise France and Proparco, a Group offer for every need
As part of the integration of Expertise France, and in concert with its private-sector subsidiary Proparco, AFD Group is now able to offer a range of diverse tools to support public and private actors throughout their projects.
Being part of a group is about working together whenever possible in each territory, on each theme, and supporting the convergence of actions by the private sector, municipalities, public banks, civil society organizations and public policies, such that they contribute to sustainable and inclusive development. Each of the Group's entities remains by the side of the actors it supports, and all of them are focused on the same objective: inclusive, sustainable development.