Sports and Development

Sports bring people together and foster inclusion, contributing to peace, gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the areas of health, education and social cohesion. AFD has made sports one of its strategic lines of action. It promotes “sports for all” and encourages equal access to sporting activities, notably by defending gender equality.
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Sport and development, bike, Curitiba, Brazil, social link
Sports help develop more sustainable and inclusive societies

Supporting social innovations through sports

AFD is supporting social innovation and development through sports

Supporting social innovations through sports

The contribution that sports make to the development of more sustainable, inclusive societies is now recognized in literature and by the international community. Indeed, in 2019, AFD adapted its “Sports and Development” strategy to support its “100% social link” commitment.

In order to encourage education through sports and to strengthen social cohesion from the earliest age, AFD is working with French NGOs such as Play International, which is accredited by the Ministry of Sports and recognized as contributing to the public interest. In Burundi, Senegal, Liberia and Kosovo, Play International deploys what it calls “Playdagogy” – a participatory pedagogical method that uses sports as an educational tool. It encourages young people to stay in the education system through sports, thereby building up the human capital needed for the countries’ continuing development. In Mayotte, the NGO is carrying out an education and sports project that combats discrimination.

AFD also works with international organizations such as the NBA, FIFA and the Basketball Africa League. These partnerships aim to promote the practice of sports, the organization of sporting events and an awareness among its young beneficiaries of the tools that can be honed and used to meet the challenges of sustainable development through sports.

Encouraging community sports

basketball playground, young people, sport, Guyana

Encouraging community sports

AFD seeks to encourage community sports as a powerful factor for social inclusion, empowerment and self-esteem for girls and women, supporting local initiatives that boost social cohesion. We encourage the inclusion of a sports component in our urban development, education and health projects, notably in public policies for young people that we are backing in Africa.

With 70% of the African population under the age of 30 today, the goal is to help improve the sector’s organization and renovate infrastructure for underprivileged neighborhoods to encourage community sports.

When it signed a partnership with the NBA in Africa in 2018, AFD was seeking to change the way people look at the continent and to open up new horizons for the sports world. The aim of the partnership is to co-finance programs (using basketball as a lever to increase awareness of sustainable development challenges, for example), and educational projects promoted by local NGOs. The project was launched in Morocco in June 2019 and will be deployed in four more African countries (Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya and South Africa).

Supporting growth in an emerging sector

AFD ans sports, fostering inclusion, social cohesion and development

Supporting growth in an emerging sector

Currently estimated by the OECD at 2% of GDP worldwide, the sports sector generates business activity and jobs that cannot be relocated. Its annual growth rate, at 5.9%, is greater than that of the world economy. And yet the share of sports in the GDP of African countries remains weak, estimated at just 0.5% on the continent. So there is plenty of room for improvement, and growth in this sector should have significant impact, both economically and socially.

In 2019, AFD and France’s Ministry of Sports launched the “Sport & Development” call for projects, operated by the French NGO The European Guild, to provide support to association projects that use sports as a way of fostering sustainable development in Africa. The program’s purpose is to forge and support partnerships between French associations and local stakeholders for the creation of local development initiatives through sports. These initiatives in the field are levers contributing to the inclusion of disabled persons, gender equality and women’s empowerment, education, social cohesion, vocational training, environmental protection, etc. Some fifty micro-projects have been financed in more than 15 African countries.

A comprehensive financial product offer

young people, sport, Fortaleza, Brazil

A comprehensive financial product offer

AFD has adapted financial products to development through sports:

  • For public investments in sports: concessional sovereign or non-sovereign loans for the construction of sustainable sports infrastructure, and support for the implementation of national sports policies
  • For private investments in the sustainable sports economy: loans at market rates through our subsidiary Proparco, equity investments, banking intermediation, as well as the Fund for Technical Expertise and Experience Transfers (FEXTE)
  • Initiatives supporting social cohesion are taken into account through the various “Sports and Development” calls for projects presented on the “Sport in Common” platform, AFD’s partnerships with Civil Society Organizations and the French Local Authorities Financing Facility (FICOL).

Mobilizing sports stakeholders for sustainable development

Fics, sport, development

Mobilizing sports stakeholders for sustainable development

In November 2020, AFD inaugurated its collaborative “Sport in Common” platform. Created to forge a connection between the sports world and the world of development financing, it offers a “one-stop service” for innovative solutions and contributes to the development of lasting partnerships and programs. 

Actions are carried out and coordinated by a coalition of French and African operators, as well as by the public and private sectors, civil society, the African diaspora, the sports industry and the financial sector.

The platform is supported by a community of active and retired athletes, the “Sport Impact Leaders”, all veritable leaders committed to development through sports, especially for African youths. The athletes working with us include Diana Gandega, Geraldine Robert, Diandra Tchatchouang, Aby Gaye, Séverine Desbouys, Youssouf Mulumbu, Amy Mbacke Thiam, Astou N’Diaye, Khadidia Timera, François Trinh Duc, Ada Hegerberg, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Youcef Ouldyassia, Arnaud Assoumani and Hervé Mathoux.

million euros invested in sports between 2012 and 2022
sport for development projects funded
athletes supported through our programs

With their capacity to bring people together and foster inclusion, sports are cited in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: they contribute to peace, the empowerment of women and young people, as well as to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the areas of health, education and social cohesion.

Under its “Sports and Development” strategy, AFD has made sports one of its new lines of action. It focuses on promoting “sports for all” and encourages equal access to their practice, with a special emphasis on gender equality issues.

During his speech in Ouagadougou in November 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron positioned sports as a “lever of action for young people and economic and social development in Africa”. In February 2018, during the visit by President George Weah of Liberia, the decision was made for AFD to promote an initiative to get sports stakeholders involved in sustainable development.

This initiative led to the launch of the “Sports in Common” platform during the Finance in Common summit on November 11th, 2020. The Pan-African platform seeks to bring together the worlds of sports and development finance to mobilize resources so that donors, foundations, federations and leagues can meet and support athlete development projects.

The upcoming sports calendar is promising. Paris’ designation as the host city for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games is an opportunity to develop a diverse project portfolio. Organizing such an international event can truly encourage growth in the vast ecosystem of Sports and Development events in the countries where AFD works. 

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AFD is supporting social innovation and development through sports
AFD ans sports, fostering inclusion, social cohesion and development