After a boost in investments in 2020 as part of the emergency response to the Covid-19 crisis, AFD Group remains committed to strengthening health and social protection systems, allocating for instance, the financing of €826 million to these sectors in 2021. This took the form of some 64 projects worldwide, providing more than 52 million people with better access to health care, while 24 million will benefit from better social protection.
In addition to this funding, financing a health or social protection component in more transversal forms of support reached €321 million last year. This is the case, for example, in Polynesia, where a €300 million loan is being used to finance the territory's recovery plan, in particular the widespread social protection system.
The greater part of the financing was in the form of loans (78%) for a total amount of €630 million. Over €175 million was mobilized in grants, including project grants and the Project Support, Preparation and Monitoring Fund (FAPS), the Sector Innovation Facility for NGOs (FISONG), the Technical Expertise and Experience Exchange Fund (FEXTE) and the Overseas Fund (FOM). In addition, almost €11 million in funds delegated by the European Union has also been obtained for financing in Latin America.
Climate and gender issues
In line with AFD Group's commitments, health and social protection activities in 2021 will focus specifically on climate and gender issues. Projects whose main objective is to combat gender inequalities account for €91.6 million and those where one of the objectives aims at combating these inequalities account for €410 million.
In partnership with the French Red Cross, the Group is supporting, for example, the Panzi General Hospital and the Panzi Foundation created by the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Denis Mugwege, to combat sexual violence and reduce gender inequality in access to health care in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The "Health in Common" initiative extended in 2021 and 2022
In 2021, AFD Group continued its commitment to the response to the Covid-19 crisis, notably through the renewal of the "Health in Common" initiative. This initiative targets priority countries for French aid and attempts to respond to the new challenges posed by the pandemic: the appearance of variants, epidemiological surveillance, vaccination, etc. Last year, €38 million in grants and €576 million in loans were allocated in this context.
This second phase of "Health in Common" aims to meet the needs of populations with a view to long-term strengthening of health care systems and social protection bases. Within this framework, the Group has financed the Afroscreen project, which aims to increase the sequencing capacities of the Sars-Cov-2 virus in 13 African countries to improve monitoring of the epidemic on the continent and to support public authorities.
AFD Group has also supported governments in implementing vaccination plans, for example in Rwanda with a €60 million loan. In addition to the COVAX initiative, which aims to provide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccination in 200 countries - AFD is acting with other partners to support regional vaccine procurement initiatives in Africa. This includes a €50 million line of credit to Afreximbank supporting the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust, as well as a €100 million credit line to the Latin American Development Bank.
A €200 million loan, including 40% climate co-benefits, was also granted to the Government of Bangladesh to support the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, strengthen health care and social protection systems and thereby increase the country's resilience and its ability to prevent and respond to exogenous shocks, whether in terms of health, climate or social.
The social protection projects supported in 2021 illustrate this resolve to move from an emergency response to long-term support. AFD Group has also financed the universal social protection reform conducted by the Moroccan government (€150 million in loans).
It is continuing to support the structuring of a social protection system led by the Government of Togo, whose emergency response to the crisis had already been financed as part of the “Health in Common” initiative in 2020 for an amount of €10 million.