French Overseas Territories

The French overseas territories span 3 continents and hold exceptional natural resources. The isolation of these overseas territories and their exposure to climate change are the major challenges for the future. AFD is a key partner for the sustainable development of the overseas territories.
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Fatu Hiva hydroelectric plant, French Polynesia
Fatu Hiva hydroelectric plant, French Polynesia

Ensuring an oceanic and regional future

L'île au lagon, island, lagoon, Mayotte, ocean


The France of three oceans, the France on four continents: the French overseas territories project France outside its mainland territory. The overseas territories are to be found in the Indian Ocean, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, South America and the North Atlantic and give France global outreach. 

Promoting regional cooperation between the overseas territories and their neighboring countries is a strong ambition for AFD. We consider it is a priority to firmly root these territories in their oceanic basins in order to strengthen the autonomy of local economies. 

The overseas territories have a head start in terms of the challenges which the world has in common. Natural disasters, health crises, waste management, the circular economy, tropical building, migrations, etc. affect all these territories in the same way. These geographical, economic and climatic phenomena pose common development challenges and call for concerted responses. They can be addressed from various perspectives, particularly the regional perspective. Sharing solutions, pooling approaches, building complementarities: this is the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which contribute to providing concrete responses to these dynamics.

Financing public and private sector projects

Schoelcher library, Fort de France, Martinique


Financing is central to AFD’s activity. We finance public and private actors via diversified and appropriate financial instruments: concessional loans thanks to an interest subsidy provided by the State, short or long-term market-rate loans, direct loans to companies, guarantees and bank refinancing.

The aim of all these tools is to achieve concrete results in essential fields for the economies and societies in the overseas territories: health, biodiversity, renewable energies, urban development, transport, access to basic services, innovation, regional cooperation, etc.

Providing technical support and advice

welder, iron, craft village, La Réunion


But the future of the overseas territories is not just about the issue of financing: strengthening the capacities of project initiators, rethinking the drivers for development and revitalizing the social contract are major objectives for these territories in transition. 

For AFD, bringing projects into being, structuring them and pooling energies is a real challenge, across all sectors. We provide our partners with financial and sectoral expertise tailored to the needs of territories in order to build capacities, feed into public debate, have exchanges and provide assistance over time. 

In late 2016, to mark its 75th anniversary, AFD organized a cycle of 8 conferences to enhance its contribution to the debate about the economic outlook for the overseas territories.

Building with our partners

Prefecture, Guyane


Local authorities, the State, parapublic actors, companies, associations, research institutes, international institutions, banks: at AFD, there is a strong partnership culture. It is necessary for AFD and its partners to establish a system of effective actors, able to mobilize a collective intelligence, to allow us to take action together and build together. 

In the overseas territories, we operate with a number of partners, the first being the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC), with which we signed a strategic alliance in late 2016, and the public investment bank Bpifrance, on behalf of which we carry out a service mandate. We also work closely, on a daily basis, with the French overseas note-issuing banks IEDOM and IEOM, and in the context of the partnership with CEROM (Rapid Economic Accounts for Overseas Territories). 

projects financed in 2016
EUR 6.23bn
committed between 2013 and 2016
EUR 1.6bn
committed in 2016

The French overseas territories have some 2.6 million inhabitants and span 3 continents. They provide France with global outreach and exceptional natural resources. They do, however, face similar difficulties: the isolation of their economy, the exposure to climate change and the lack of a firmly established base in their regional economic environment.

AFD has been supporting the development of the French overseas territories since 1941. It provides financing and technical assistance in order to support employment, sustainable development and establish a regional footing. As the main financial partner for the public sector and private actors in the overseas territories, AFD has a role to play in the ongoing and future transitions. For the 4th consecutive year, our commitments in the overseas territories have topped the EUR 1.5bn mark, with EUR 1.6bn in 2016.

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