These countries face common challenges: a high level of vulnerability to climate change, complex resource and land management and persistent inequalities (particularly territorial and gender-based). In addition, the economic and health crisis due to Covid-19 has called into question much of the progress made in the fight against poverty and inequality.
To meet these challenges, the AFD Group systematically explores opportunities for joint social and environmental benefits in its projects, in line with its "100% Paris Agreement" and "100% Social Link" commitments.
Climate is at the heart of AFD's strategy in South Asia: 70% of our projects in the region offer joint benefits in terms of combating climate change. Our current portfolio in South Asia focuses on sustainable urban development, clean energy, access to drinking water and sanitation and biodiversity protection, all of which are consistent with the regional office's three priorities for action.
Combating climate change by supporting low-carbon transitions
In South Asia, the Group is committed to maximising positive climatic impacts in all its operations and devotes a significant part of its activities to supporting its partners towards low-carbon and resilient trajectories. Decarbonising the energy sector and improving energy efficiency are indeed major challenges in a region that still relies heavily on fossil fuels to drive its growth.
Promoting sustainable land management and the preservation of natural resources
In all countries in the region, AFD draws on its experience in urban development and French know-how to promote smart and resilient infrastructure that limits urban congestion and reduces associated pollution, particularly air pollution.
We also work in rural areas so that they can be mainstreamed into the national economy by improving their connectivity and developing basic services. AFD also supports agricultural areas by promoting the development of sustainable natural resource management practices and increasing their resilience to the effects of climate change.
The AFD Group pays particular attention to water and soil management, the fight against deforestation and the protection of biodiversity. We therefore support the creation and management of forested, coastal and marine protected areas and encourage the development of the blue economy to build competitive and resilient industries.
Contributing to more inclusive economic growth and reducing social imbalances
The AFD Group's activities help improve people's access to essential services: drinking water and sanitation networks, electricity, health services and telecommunications and financial services.
Another major objective is gender equality: the Group intends to increase the share of financing dedicated to reducing gender inequalities. The South Asia Regional Office has set up an action plan specifically for this issue in order to identify local needs in greater detail and propose appropriate operational responses.
Finally, the AFD Group encourages the creation of economic opportunities, particularly in promising or innovative sectors (blue economy, sustainable tourism, cultural and creative industries, digital sector, etc.), and support for entrepreneurship and skills development to promote employability, particularly for women and young people.
An adapted financial offer
In order to meet these objectives, the AFD Group has several financial tools at its disposal for public and private partners, including sovereign loans (which make up the majority of AFD's financing in the region), grants (smaller amounts of funding often delegated to AFD by our partners, mainly the European Union), as well as non-sovereign loans, equity and guarantees (via Proparco, our subsidiary dedicated to the private sector).
The AFD Group also contributes to France's Indo-Pacific strategy by promoting the concept of public goods, an inclusive approach and sustainable cooperation between countries in the region.