Since 2008, AFD Group and the European Commission have joined forces to enhance the effectiveness of official development assistance. Over and above the common agenda laid down by the United Nations through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), both institutions share the same vision built around a sustainable, inclusive, green and digitally-driven recovery. For instance, they share similar goals on the climate, in light of the commitments made under the Paris Agreement, and on gender equality.
Between 2014 and 2022, the European Commission delegated grants worth more than €3 billion to the Group to fund over 350 projects in 74 countries. This co-financing ranks AFD as a leading European partner of the Commission.
AFD Group collaborates with the different European Union institutions: primarily, the European Commission and its two Directorates General dedicated to International Partnerships (INTPA) and the D-G for Neighbourhood and Enlargement issues (NEAR). It also works with the European Parliament, as the Group is engaged in an enhanced dialogue with MEPs to help inform the European debate on development.
AFD Group's strategic and financial partnership with the European Union has recently been reinforced by the integration of Expertise France, which took effect on January 1, 2022. Equipped with new financial instruments and bolstered by the arrival of technical expertise, in addition to new sectors of intervention and a broader geographical scope (Expertise France can conduct intra-European projects), AFD Group has established itself as a complete, go-to partner for the European Union.
Varied arrangements and sectors
AFD Group entities are accredited to receive and manage European funds. The Group therefore plays an active role in implementing European cooperation, whether by engaging in political dialogue with countries and local partners, and capacity-building activities, or through the various financial instruments (grants, sovereign and non-sovereign loans, guarantees) and delegations of funds that provide substantial leverage.
As a financial institution, AFD can also implement projects on a blended grant/loan basis. This type of financing includes accompanying European grants with loans to increase impact. AFD is the only financial institution to be involved in certain mixed facilities in the health, education, and agriculture sectors. In recent years, AFD has been the leading beneficiary of the Commission’s allocations in this regard for Asia and Latin America, the second-largest beneficiary for sub-Saharan Africa, and a key player in the Mediterranean. For the previous European programming period (2014-2020), AFD Group was also the second-largest beneficiary institution for European guarantees.
In addition, AFD has the capacity to manage research programs that are at the forefront of certain fields, such as understanding and combating socioeconomic inequalities. Since 2017, AFD has been coordinating an EU-funded Research Facility specializing in these issues.
AFD Group’s partnership with the European Commission covers a wide variety of sectors. At the top of the list is the energy sector, followed by agriculture, biodiversity, and sustainable development which account for more than 40% of funding. AFD is the only financial institution to be involved in certain mixed facilities in the health, education, and agriculture sectors. Today, AFD Group is mobilizing to meet the challenges of the 2021-2027 European programming and to add a more strategic dimension to its partnership with the European Union.