Education and Training

Initial and continuing education have a critical role to play in sustaining the sea changes underway in our societies. They not only help reduce inequality and vulnerability, but also foster the opportunities needed for the emancipation, mobility, and social, civic, and economic integration for all men and women.
AFD supports equitable access to high-quality education and training, from primary school through to higher education and vocational training.
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AFD's action - Education and training
Youth at the heart of development
children, digital education, Burundi

Supporting equitable access to basic education

primary school, Uganda, pupils, education

Supporting equitable access to basic education

Equitable access to a high-quality basic education (preschool, primary, and middle school) is the essential prerequisite to individual autonomy and lifelong learning.

AFD supports making basic education, particularly at the middle school level, accessible to everyone. It contributes to expanding primary and secondary education and improving educational policy oversight.

AFD also helps improve the quality of teaching by emphasizing success in early learning, the development of basic skills (learning reading/writing and basic math in the first years at school), training and professional development for teachers, staff, and heads of schools, and improving oversight of the educational system.

In Togo, for example, we are supporting the implementation of middle school reforms to improve access to education and the quality of that education: the PAREC project is substantially improving learning conditions for secondary school students and performing important work to raise awareness about helping girls access middle schools and keeping them in school.

Improving policies and mechanisms for education and training

vocational training, Vietnam, education

Improving Policies and Mechanisms for Education and Training

AFD supports the development of a diverse educational offering that is driven by economic demand, promoting integration at every stage of life. While continuing its historical support for creating outstanding centers for vocational training, it also emphasizes teaching methods suitable for different audiences, based for example on work-study and apprenticeships, and on the development of innovative teaching models.

In Cambodia, for example, AFD is providing assistance in structuring the country’s tourism strategy and energizing the sector by supporting the construction of an interprofessional organization, stimulating public/private dialog, and building two schools to train students for tourism-related careers. 

We also support devising and running comprehensive strategies for training and education, with a particular focus on their effectiveness, efficiency, and equity.

Finally, we promote competitive industries and sectors motivated by social responsibility. For example, we support the African Network of Centers of Excellence in Electricity, in which the potential of renewable energy and the role of smart grids play a large role.

Supporting higher education and research

university, Tunisia, student

Supporting higher education and research

AFD promotes equitable access to high-quality, certificating higher education that drives innovation. It is committed to enhancing governance in the sector and improving the quality and relevancy of educational offerings. To this end, it is involved in designing short technical certificate programs, rooted in a specific employment area, and supports promising sectors.

AFD also promotes a digital transition in service of innovative, learning societies by supporting infrastructure networks and digital university services.

Finally, we support continuity between higher education, research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We support national and regional research systems by building the capacity of research teams and improving material conditions for research institutions and laboratories. To this end, we are financing the African Higher Education Centres of Excellence alongside the World Bank. The program supports 44 centers based in universities or schools in strategic sectors: health, digital, agriculture, transportation, water, and energy. 

Developing effective, participatory frameworks for governance

education, school, Senegal

Developing effective, participatory frameworks for governance

In order to develop a culture of responsibility and accountability at every level, AFD supports participatory, partnership-based development and management of public policies. In Tunisia, AFD assists in leading the regional and national training and education policy and governance mechanisms for public/private consultation, as well as enhancing social dialog and strengthening professional organizations.

AFD’s actions are based on and organized around ongoing dialog within sectors. It participates in discussion forums for public policy: in Niger, we contribute to the Fonds Commun Sectoriel and help sustain a dialog on improving the quality of education, equity, and the performance of the system.

Since the quality of governance depends on strengthening the parties involved, AFD is committed to building capacity for both centrally and locally planning, supervising, managing, and monitoring/assessing educational systems.

Finally, to facilitate social and socio-productive transitions, AFD supports the implementation of permanent, equitable financing mechanisms that focus on efficient and transparent public spending. 

Creating resilient individuals and systems

Syrian refugees, Lebanon, school, education

Creating Resilient Individuals and Systems

AFD promotes more equitable and inclusive systems of education, training, and employment. It continues to fight gender inequality, for example by promoting education for girls.

Furthermore, AFD supports approaches that provide support on the ground for vulnerable groups and a local approach that accounts for economic and social realities at a micro level. In the Congo, for example, AFD is supporting the national policy on social action for the productive integration of vulnerable people.

AFD also advocates recognizing informal educational and school mechanisms tailored to specific (nomadic or isolated) people to guarantee an opportunity for everyone to acquire basic skills.

In vulnerable or post-crisis contexts, we are committed to preventing risks and crises and mitigating their consequences. To this end, we work with local partners when developing initiatives for marginalized people. In the Mopti region of Mali, the ACTIF project, certified by the Sahel Alliance, helps get young people into jobs by redeploying high-quality education and training services.

Facilitating transitions

education, Burundi, digital

Facilitating transitions

Education, training, and employment are powerful tools for understanding, adaptation, and transformation. They enable individuals and societies to get involved in supporting:

million euros committed in 2019
million students enrolled in primary and secondary school education thanks to AFD's 2019 projects

Through Sustainable Development Goal 4, the international community has committed to “ensure inclusive and equitable education and promote lifelong opportunities for all.” Despite progress in education rates over the past 15 years,  there is still work to be done. In 2017, 64 million elementary school-age children were not in school, and 750 million adults were illiterate.

To address this situation, AFD acts across an educational continuum by:

  • building basic skills via equitable access to quality basic education
  • developing professional and crosscutting skills through training and employment policies and mechanisms
  • stimulating research and innovation capacity by overhauling the higher education and research services on offer.

AFD is committed to reinforcing its systematic involvement in the country, in particular via program-based approaches aligned with national sector-specific policies. It mobilizes expertise, co-financing, and delegations from its partners (European Union, Global Partnership for Education, Sahel Alliance), promoting coalitions of players both within France and internationally (for example, the APPRENDRE expertise platform

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News & Events

Togo: When Secondary schools become good pupils

In 2014, the Togolese Ministry of Education launched an ambitious program to improve learning conditions for pupils in secondary education. The system, launched with AFD’s support, provides better facilities and improved teacher training. There are also extensive efforts to sensitize communities to the importance of schooling, especially for girls.


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