The European Commission and AFD Group have forged a long-term relationship based on shared values, and they have been working together since 2008 to improve the effectiveness of their actions. Beyond the common agenda set by the United Nations via the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the two institutions share a common vision revolving around a sustainable, inclusive, green and digitally supported recovery. For example, they pursue similar objectives concerning the climate, in line with the commitments made under the Paris Agreement, and gender equality.
AFD Group collaborates with the different European Union institutions: primarily, the European Commission and its two Directorates General dedicated to international partnerships (INTPA) and neighborhood and enlargement issues (NEAR), but also the European Parliament, as the Group is engaged in an enhanced dialog with Members of Parliament in order to 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, effective since 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 dialog 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 consists in accompanying European grants with loans in order to increase their impact. 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.
Between 2014 and 2020, projects co-financed with Europe mainly concerned the following areas:
- Energy (37% of projects supported)
- Social sectors (health, education)
- Private-sector development (micro-businesses and SMEs, support for entrepreneurship).