Latin America and the Caribbean

The Latin America and Caribbean region has two challenges to address: climate change and urbanization. AFD operates under a mandate which combines environmental protection, economic development and the fight against inequalities.
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panorama sur la ville de Medellín depuis le quartier de La Sierra, Colombie
City of Medellín, Colombia

Supporting urban development and strengthening social cohesion

BRT line in Curitiba, Brazil


Latin America is faced with a paradox: it is the most urbanized continent in the world, but is significantly lagging behind in terms of infrastructure compared to other emerging regions. The transport sector is in particular underdeveloped. Yet mobility issues are closely related to development: public transport facilitates access to employment and essential services and reduces inequalities. There is also an ecological bonus: it reduces noise pollution and particle emissions.

To address these shortcomings, AFD develops strategies which take urban issues into account as a whole, from infrastructure to social cohesion. For example, we are financing the construction of the metro in Santo Domingo, sustainable mobility projects in Curitiba, in Brazil, and an even more ambitious project, the transformation of Medellin, in Colombia, in the city. We also focus on partnerships between local and French actors (local authorities, companies) who provide technical assistance.

Fighting against climate change and protecting the environment

City of Medellín, Colombia


The ecological issue poses a major challenge in Latin America. The intensification of agricultural production, urbanization, and the development of industrial activities seriously deplete the continent’s environmental capital which is, however, very rich. Consequently, national governments and local authorities are today seeking to reconcile the exploitation of natural resources and environmental protection.

AFD is assisting them in their action. Our operations especially focus on improving water management in a sustainable and equitable manner (sanitation, modernization of distribution networks, etc.). This is what our action is all about in Colombia, for example. The country has abundant water resources, but they are poorly distributed nationwide. The lack of water near cities is exacerbated by its poor quality when it is distributed and leads to conflicts between users.

We also focus on the fight against climate change, which affects the continent, and biodiversity conservation. It is worth noting that Latin American countries are major actors in the international climate negotiations (Peru hosted COP20 in 2014). We assist them in the implementation of their contributions to the Paris Agreement (NDCs).

countries of operation
of projects have a positive impact on the climate
EUR 6.8bn
committed between 2009 and 2016

Latin America is the most urbanized continent in the world. Consequently, issues related to sustainable cities, which combine urban development, social cohesion and environmental protection, are central to the action of national governments and local authorities. The climate challenge has been added to the programs which are already being implemented.

AFD operates in Latin America and the Caribbean under a mandate for “green and inclusive growth”. This means that we assist our partners along a path of economic development which benefits vulnerable populations and is compatible with the protection of the environment and natural resources. In the Caribbean, we also support regional integration.

Our activity in the region is based on strong historical, linguistic and cultural ties, and leads to a regular political dialogue, as well as a number of technical and academic exchanges. We have close relations with local authorities and local development banks (national and regional).

Our operations on the continent started in Haiti (1976) and we very recently started operating in Argentina (2017). We are today active in the entire region, with FFEM (French Facility for Global Environment), PROPARCO (our private sector financing arm) and the NGOs we finance.

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


  • Health
  • Water and Sanitation

Funding type

  • Delegation of European Union Funds
  • Grant
  • Loan


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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

Operating in Fragile States - Lessons from Experience

There are several approaches to fragile states. The first, based on the crisis cycle, distinguishes between deteriorating countries, countries in prolonged crisis, countries emerging from crisis, and countries showing gradual ...
Oct 2010
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
Research document

High School Track Choice and Liquidity Constraints: Evidence from Urban Mexico

We study how a large household windfall affects sorting of relatively disadvantaged youth over high school tracks by exploiting the discontinuity in the assignment of a welfare program in Mexico. ...
Dec 2016
Research document

Reintegration upon return: insights from Ecuadorian returnees from Spain

Using the ECM2 survey data on Ecuadorian migrants returning from Spain, we investigate the determinants of reintegration upon return. We study how the migration experience, but also the before- and ...
Aug 2016
Research document

Water from the heights, water from the grassroots: the Governance of common dynamics and public services in La Paz-El Alto

As in many large cities, the now prevailing technical model for producing and distributing water in La Paz and El Alto is that of a centralized network serving the whole ...
Jun 2016
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

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 European union

Since 2007, AFD has implemented over EUR 3bn of concessional loans with the contribution of EUR717m of European grants from the various loan-grant blending facilities and delegated cooperation. These partnerships ...
Jan 2015