Colombia is on its way to becoming the third-largest economy in Latin America. But despite its undeniable vitality, the country must deal with huge challenges. To provide support, AFD is focusing on three objectives: local sustainable development, policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and social cohesion.
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Tramvia from Medellín, Colombia
AFD and Colombia fighting inequality and climate change
Tramvia from Medellín, Colombia

Promoting green growth

Medellín Metrocable  Colombia

Promoting green growth

Colombia is very exposed to climate risks, and not just from the El Niño / La Niña phenomenon. A crucial challenge for the country's future is its capacity both to adapt to the effects of climate change and to develop environmentally friendly growth.

To help Colombia in this essential strategic change, AFD granted two loans to the Government, in 2014 and 2015. Additionally, a grant has funded studies on the economic impact of climate change, on territorial development and on other climate-compatible pilot projects.

AFD is also supporting several concrete initiatives for Colombia's green growth:

  • Construction of a tramway line and two cable-car lines in Medellín to connect disadvantaged peripheral neighborhoods, where 300,000 people live, to the city center.
  • Support for the Medellín City Hall in drawing up its urban planning projects (technical cooperation program with APUR, the urban planning agency of the City of Paris).
  • Development of urban policy assessment tools (cooperation between AFD and the University of Los Andes, through the latter's own funds).
  • A study to determine how to organize rail transport nationally, and an assessment on its financing at the local level, as support to the City of Medellín (via FEXTE).
  • Financing of the PORCE III hydroelectric power station and modernization of transportation and electricity distribution networks, to strengthen the country's clean and renewable energy potential.
  • Support for the integrated management of water resources and technical cooperation to improve the management of major watersheds.

Reducing inequality

Graffiti, Medellín, Colombia

Reducing inequality

Lasting peace in Colombia will be possible only with reduction in inequality and with real social cohesion. Despite some progress, Colombian society remains profoundly inegalitarian. The people foremost affected are those who live in rural areas, women, and the Afro-Colombian and Amerindian minorities. The major cause for this is a lack of infrastructure, which prevents equitable access to basic services.

AFD is taking action to support several initiatives:

  • Developing disadvantaged areas, such as the Urabá region.
  • Supporting the decentralization of the Colombian government and providing it technical guidance based on the contractual policy between the French central government and its local communities.
  • Providing guidance for the implementation of the peace agreements between the FARC and the Government.
  • Promoting investment in basic urban services (health care, education, access to water, sanitation, etc.) in priority municipalities, in order to help reduce territorial inequality.

Improving social inclusion

Young girl in Medellín, Colombia

Improving social inclusion

AFD is participating in the improvement of health and education systems – two other priority areas for reducing gaps among the population.

In recent decades, the setting up of mandatory health insurance has helped improve access to health services. The rate of healthcare coverage grew from 23.7% in 1993 to more than 90% in 2012. But the system continues to suffer from considerable weaknesses: its economic model, inequalities in access to health care, inflation, etc.

As for education, it remains dominated by the private sector. Low-income populations face great difficulties in access to education. With this as a backdrop, AFD has decided on several actions:

  • Support for the Government's social protection policy, by taking care to improve effectiveness in expenditures (technical cooperation program)
  • Support for a public institution dedicated to financing the most underprivileged students. In Colombia's post-conflict political context, AFD is thus providing support for the Colombian Government's policy to further access to higher education by the most disadvantaged social strata.
dollars committed since 2010
of amounts earmarked for Green Growth and the Climate
of financing allocated to non-State entities: companies, NGOs, institutions, etc.

Colombia's distinctive characteristic is its diversity, in both its natural heritage and its social reality. The country's challenge is to succeed, in the coming years, in reducing its social inequality and in boosting equitable development for all regions. Likewise, taking climate change into account in public policies is one of the prerequisites for Colombia's membership in the OECD.

With a total of 2 billion dollars committed since its arrival in the country in 2010, France is one of the foremost bilateral donors in Colombia. AFD grants loans to the Colombian Government as support to national public policies (decentralization, social protection, climate and territorial development). It grants direct financing, without state guarantees, to local authorities, public-service enterprises and financial institutions. These loans are accompanied by technical assistance and from delegated resources from the European Commission (Latin America Investment Facility).

In 2016, the French and Colombian presidents signed a roadmap that creates a framework for AFD intervention in the upcoming years. The roadmap outlines two priorities:

  • support for implementing the peace agreements
  • complementarity between the financing of investments and the financing of Government policies.

AFD's Colombia office is directly attached to the Andes regional office.

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