Local and regional authorities

A distinctive feature of French local and regional authorities is that they carry out international actions. And with its more than 5,000 active local or regional authorities, France has one of the most dynamic international networks in this field.
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Johannesburg, South Africa
AFD is devoting an increasing share of its activity to direct financing of local authorities in the countries where it works. To do so, it relies on the expertise of French local and regional authorities in particular, many of which are significant actors in development aid.


India, Jodhpur, Chandra, view of the city

The relationships mutually formed by local authorities in order to deal with and enrich their local public policies are a fundamental lever in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In France, there has been gradual legislative recognition of the external action of local authorities (EALAs), leading up to the 2014 Orientation and Programming Law on Development and International Solidarity Policy (LOP-DSI).

At the global level, the new international agenda for development aid seeks to intensify this support to EALAs. The adoption of the SDGs in 2015 and its associated notion of universality (as the objectives are shared by all countries) help promote strengthened support for partnerships created between French local authorities and their partners around the world.

When there is coordinated action between AFD and a French local authority involved in an actions abroad, it helps to better meet the needs of the foreign local authorities, which are eager to exchange expertise and experiences on good practices. That’s why AFD provides for three major forms of working abroad with French local authorities.


Colombo, city, Sri Lanka

Together, AFD and local authorities contribute to France’s standing abroad. In particular, local authorities promote France’s economic influence as well as its standing, not only via the models they promote, but also through the French economic actors that they involve in their development cooperation (companies, chambers of commerce, business clusters, consulting firms, and NGOs).

AFD proposes three forms for working together for development:

  • Creating convergence between AFD actions and those of French local authorities. The objective is to promote financial and technical cooperation between French and foreign local authorities, to round out a project financed by AFD.
  • Making expertise from French local authorities available abroad. AFD finances and supplies this technical expertise to developing countries, which helps highlight French know-how.
  • Financing initiatives by local French authorities. AFD provides support for the projects that local authorities identify and implement as part of their international partnerships.


Skycrapers in Manila, Philippines


  • This system to assist external action by local authorities was set up in 2014.
  • Its funds support partnerships between local authorities throughout the world and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


Trois Rivières city hall, French Guiana

The AFD actions carried out in partnership with French local authorities come within the framework of guidelines defined by the National Commission for Decentralized Cooperation (CNCD), which facilitates dialogue between national and local governments in France. The commission is made up equally by AFD and by national organizations of elected officials (from municipalities, departments, and regions), including organizations specialized in international relations (Cités Unies France and Association française du conseil des communes et régions d’Europe). AFD moreover maintains close relationships with Cités Unies France (CUF), enabling it to dialogue directly with French local authorities.

Working in cooperation with local elected officials

Local elected officials play a decisive role in development processes. By forming close relationships with them, AFD enriches its own practices and benefits from the concrete experiences developed in local communities and regions. AFD can also provide French elected officials with its knowledge and international experience, which can be useful for them in projecting the experience of their own communities abroad. AFD thus views one of its missions as always making its expertise and field of action better known among local elected officials.

Raising the awareness of civil society about sustainable development issues

Two objectives shared by local authorities and AFD are to raise public awareness about development issues and to educate people about them. To meet those objectives, AFD approaches citizens by organizing symposiums, seminars, and gatherings at universities. AFD is also involved in more large-scale projects: it co-created the Nés quelque part performance/exhibition and helped finance the film Demain, which was produced by Mélanie Laurent and Cyril Dion and won the César award for best documentary film in 2016.

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