Demographic and social, ecological, energy, political, technological transitions… African countries face crucial challenges for their future. AFD has risen to these challenges. With a renewed strategy, our teams are stepping up the work which has been conducted for several decades for Africa’s development. The continent is and remains central to AFD’s action.
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Children, Madagascar
AFD and Africa: supporting the transitions throughout the continent
Children, Madagascar

Addressing the challenges of employment and youth

professional training center, Senegal, training, building

Addressing the challenges of employment and youth

Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050 to 2.5 billion inhabitants, i.e. a quarter of the world’s population. 

These strong demographic dynamics present a number of challenges and opportunities. The growth in the working age population can contribute to increasing productivity and promoting shared prosperity on the continent. However, to unleash this potential, the transformation needs to be supported. Particular attention must be paid to the problems faced by youth: employment, intergenerational inequalities, social integration.     

Supporting these developments will be a focus area for AFD’s operations in the coming years. Indeed, the subject has an impact on all public policies: needs for infrastructure and basic services, urban growth, the need to increase agricultural productivity to feed populations, etc.

AFD’s aim is to facilitate the demographic transition through its financing. The objective is to strengthen everything that can promote social cohesion: sexual and reproductive health services, family, education, training policies, etc. Maintaining this demographic path at a sustainable level also requires increasing the productivity of African economies. This is the purpose of maintaining the priority given to the electricity, transport, water and agriculture sectors. 

Building sustainable territories and cities

Rice crops, cultivated lands, Madagascar

Building sustainable territories and cities

While Africa’s urban population is expected to increase from 41% to 63% by 2050, the bulk of the poor population will continue to live in rural areas. 

Rural development is more than ever a core issue for Africa. Rural areas will need to increase agricultural productivity and strengthen the resilience and sustainability of systems. At the same time, urbanization comes with an increase in urban poverty. Many rural workers who migrate to cities find themselves in “rurban” areas. These territories are ill-equipped (particularly in terms of housing and transport) and there is a lack of employment due to their low level of industrialization. 

In the coming years, AFD’s objective is to contribute to the changes in the development models of territories by promoting sustainable cities and directly supporting local authorities. We will also be investing in rural areas and ecosystems to strengthen their resilience and reduce territorial and ecological imbalances. 

Our support for the financial governance of local authorities will strengthen the impact of the initiatives implemented. The preservation of global Commons (biodiversity, water, minerals/natural resources, etc.) will also be a major part of our action.

Increasing access to clean and competitive energy

Solar plant, Noor, Morocco

Increasing access to clean and competitive energy

While Africa is the region in the world with the lowest level of carbon emissions, it is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This firstly concerns water resources, which have a direct impact on agriculture and food, as well as on territorial and urban development. 

Yet energy transitions are also a way for African countries to undertake a paradigm shift and adapt their development path. Addressing these challenges will lead to the creation of low-carbon and effective energy sectors which contribute to improving equity. 

AFD consequently wishes to promote dialogues on energy transition pathways in Africa. The objective? Develop the possible benefits in terms of the environment, economic growth and social development. AFD will use diagnostics and technical assistance to help countries plan and implement their energy transition.

AFD will work to build capacities for adaptation and resilience to the negative impacts of climate change. This action will be part of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (REn) for 2020, and France’s commitment to earmark EUR 3bn for it. We will be strengthening energy supply and access in African countries, by promoting the development of REn and the deployment of new digital technologies. 

Improving the governance of societies

crops, quinoa, field workers, Colombia

Improving the governance of societies

It will not be possible to achieve Africa’s sustainable development without peace, stability and the deployment of transparent and effective institutions. Yet despite an overall improvement on the continent, security and the respect of the rule of law have declined in 33 countries out of 54 over the past 10 years. It is essential to promote the rule of law, the recognition of debate among citizens and an improvement in governance.

To prevent and address crises, AFD aims to make the fight against vulnerabilities central to its action. A more effective coordination with humanitarian aid will be sought, in particular by strengthening the role of the State and public services as key actors in the prevention and resolution of crises. AFD will interact more with actors in security in order to gain a better understanding of the context of operations in sensitive areas.  

Furthermore, the promotion and respect of human rights will remain priorities. Taking into account the violence encountered by young people and women will continue to have a prominent place in projects. 

AFD will take action on the root causes of crises via the “Vulnerability Mitigation and Crisis Response Facility”. These resources will allow a rapid mobilization of substantial financing and efforts to be maintained. In addition, where necessary, projects will be implemented at regional level to reduce contagion risks (Ebola, Boko Haram). 

Becoming the bank for african innovations

Trader, Ghana

Becoming the bank for african innovations

Digital innovation holds huge potential for Africa. Yet today, while there is increasing access to digital technologies, it remains the lowest in the world. The average Internet penetration rate on the continent only stands at 16%, with huge disparities within countries. Despite the dynamism of start-ups, digital entrepreneurs face major barriers: lack of support, cost and quality of infrastructure, difficulties to access financing… 

AFD will consequently continue to support Africa’s digital transition. Our activity will specifically focus on infrastructure, capacities, services and governance. At sectoral level, priority will be given to the opportunities offered by digital technologies for the achievement of the SDGs. 

E-education and e-health provide opportunities to promote human development. Developing sustainable cities and improving the quality of urban services calls for the digital transition of operators, the exploitation of data and the promotion of innovation ecosystems. Exploiting satellite and remote sensing data contributes to easing environmental problems. Using mobile technologies for agriculture strengthens food security and rural development. Finally, AFD will be scaling up its action to support start-ups, as it has done by organizing the Digital Africa competition with Bpifrance.

euros committed in Africa in 2016
of the 54 countries in Africa benefit from AFD-funded projects
+ 500
of our officers work for Africa, including 460 in the field

Today, 50% of AFD’s activity (excluding the French overseas territories) directly concerns Africa. AFD is able to operate in the 54 countries on the continent and is currently implementing projects in 44 of them.

While efforts to support the continent are continuously being stepped up, AFD’s Africa strategy for 2017-2021 marks a development. Up until now, the continent was viewed in a separate manner: North Africa on one side, Sub-Saharan Africa on the other. Our action now encompasses the entire continent. 

Indeed, transnational issues are becoming increasingly urgent, as intracontinental flows (persons, goods, money) are set to constantly increase in the coming years. In addition, the continent is marked by a sharp increase in demographic pressure, security issues, as well as the impacts of climate change. In this context, it is essential to strengthen the management of spaces, problematic issues and common resources.  

Furthermore, the diversity of economies and regions in Africa requires having an ever-sharper view of the actions conducted. AFD today operates practically all over Africa and has the capacity to take action and effectively grasp the dynamics of the subregions.  

Interactive map
This map is for illustrative purposes only and does not engage the responsibility of the AFD Group
Funding type


  • Climate
  • Education
  • Employment and Shared Prosperity
  • Energy
  • Forests and Biodiversity
  • Global Partnerships
  • Health
  • Hunger and Food Security
  • Sustainable Cities
  • Water and Sanitation

Funding type

  • Delegation of European Union Funds
  • Grant
  • Loan
  • Non Sovereign Concessional Loan
  • Non Sovereign Non Concessional Loan
  • Sovereign Concessional Loan


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Evaluation document

Evaluation of the Sectoral Intervention Framework “Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa”

In 2015, the Evaluation and Capitalisation Division (EVA) of Agence Française de Développement (AFD) initiated an evaluation of the Sectoral Intervention Framework for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa for 2013...
Apr 2017
Evaluation document

Support to local socio-economic revitalisation in cities undergoing crisis

AFD is regularly called upon to support urban development projects in areas recovering from crises, be they natural or political. Above and beyond the simple reconstruction of buildings, such requests ...
Oct 2016
Evaluation document

Ex Post Written and Audiovisual Evaluation of the Limpopo National Park Development Project

The Limpopo National Park (LNP) is one of the largest parks in Mozambique. It covers 11,230 km 2 (an area the size of Ile-de-France) and is part of a larger transfrontier park ...
Sep 2016
Research document

Can Arabo-Islamic education in sub-Saharan Africa be ignored?

Arab-Islamic education in general, and Koranic schools in particular, are still largely excluded from programs advocating for education for all in Africa. Consequently, recognizing its existence, its importance and its ...
Jan 2018
Research document

Supporting Youth Insertion into the African Labor Market

In Africa, as in the rest of the world, youth employment is a major concern—maybe even more so in Africa than elsewhere. Africa is the region that has the ...
Nov 2017
Research document

Linkages between Education and Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa

This paper explores linkages between women’s education and fertility in sub-Saharan Africa, using DHS data from about 30 countries. There are three substantive sets of analyses. First, we shed light ...
Nov 2017
Research document

Holding Land in Common within Cities

In the Global South, access to decent housing and secure land tenure remains a great challenge for most urban dwellers. Yet secure land tenure is a key component of urban ...
Oct 2017
Filmed evaluation

Soweto Water Project | 2005 - 2010 | A filmed evaluation

The Operation "Gcin'amanzi" (Zulu for "water conservation") in Soweto is one of the country's most ambitious water-related projects. In post-apartheid South Africa the project was essential. Since the fall of ...
Jun 2010
Institutional document

Partnerships with Civil Society Organizations : Strategy 2018-2023

This Strategy reflects the French Government’s priorities aimed at strengthening partnerships with civil society organizations (CSOs) and increasing the share of official development assistance (ODA) channeled through them, in ...
May 2018
Institutional document

Kenya: Strategy 2017-2021

AFD group has been operating in Kenya since 1995 via its subsidiary PROPARCO. AFD subsequently opened an agency in Nairobi in 1997, with a regional competence for the five countries which make ...
Apr 2018
Institutional document

AFD - Overview

Building a more just and more sustainable world for all – a world in common – requires successfully achieving five main transitions, both over here and over there: energy, digital, territorial, demographic ...
Sep 2017
Institutional document

Brochure AFD and Speed up the energy transition in Africa

In 2014, Africa accounted for 16% of the world’s population, less than 6% of energy consumption and 3% of greenhouse gas emissions. With an average annual economic growth rate of 4.5% over the past ...
Mar 2016

Mobisan : Mobiles phone for healthcare services

Since January 2015, the MobiSan project in Burkina Faso has been improving the use of good health and nutritional practices and mother and child health services by populations in Gourma Province, ...
May 2018

An oasis in the desert

Marsabit forest, a natural space surrounded by desert, covers an area of over 16,000 hectares. This region in the North of Kenya hosts a core resource for neighboring communities and significant ...
Mar 2018

Kenya: a bright couloured school start

In Kisumu, the third most populated city in Kenya, pupils and teachers in the Angira school could not wait a second more: walls were crumbling, classrooms were on the verge ...
Feb 2018

Mozambique: children dare to dream big

In Mozambique, AFD and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) are banking on education. The country inherited a deteriorated education system because of the civil war. In 1992, one child in ...
Feb 2018