FICOL: A Springboard for the External Action of French Territories

The more development decisions are made at local level, the more they are effective. FICOL is the result of this observation: a mechanism which allows French local authorities to support projects in developing countries. AFD has set up financing for French local authorities to support developing countries, especially with technical expertise.
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Skycrapers in Manila, Philippines

A new stage was reached in 2014, with the creation of the French Local Authorities Financing Facility (FICOL). This tool allows AFD to directly finance projects, which are initiated and subsequently implemented by French local authorities. FICOL fits in with the context of:

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in September 2015;
  • France’s commitments to the fight against climate change;
  • The orientations for France’s development and international solidarity policy.

Who is concerned?

FICOL concerns all French local authorities – regions, departments, cities, municipalities – and their groups (joint associations, etc.), which work in the context of a decentralized cooperation partnership with local authorities in developing countries.

The projects submitted are required to promote dialogue on common development issues (health, education, training, urban development, fight against climate change, the digital transition of territories, etc.), in the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals. They must also be consistent with AFD’s general orientations and with its sectoral and geographical strategies.

The projects are implemented abroad in the territory of a partner local authority, preferably a single authority.

Special attention will be paid to proposals:

  • Developed by French overseas local authorities;
  • Implemented in countries where there has been little or no development of French cooperation;
  • Which allow a study to be launched for a large-scale project that could subsequently be financed by AFD's conventional tools;
  • Which have a knock-on effect on mobilizing actors in the partner territory (companies, associations, universities, university hospitals, etc.);
  • Which take into account and promote the sectors of excellence of the French local authority, its operators and economic actors in its territory. 

What financing?

Each individual financing amount allocated by AFD ranges between EUR 200,000 and EUR 1m. An amount representing a minimum of 30% of the project financing plan is provided by the local authorities (French local authority and its partner local authority) and any partners they may have involved in the project (operators, agencies, etc.). AFD’s financing is multi-year (however, projects must not exceed 3 years).

Ficol's methods

The financing agreement is signed by AFD and the French local authority.

As the primary beneficiary of AFD’s financing, the local authority is responsible for the use and traceability of funds, as well as for the implementation and monitoring of the project.

The partner local authority is the final beneficiary of the project: it is the contracting authority and owner, if applicable, of the funded infrastructure.

Involvement of the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations

In the context of the Alliance Charter between AFD and CDC, local authorities are encouraged to contact CDC’s Regional Departments prior to submitting statements of intent. They will be able to assist them in setting up complex and/or multi-stakeholder projects.


projects funded since 2014
local authorities supported
million euros granted since 2014