French Development Agency

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French Development Agency
Native name
Agence française de développement
Company typePublic Industrial and Commercial Institution and Financial Institution
FounderCharles de Gaulle
Headquarters5 rue Roland-Barthes,
Key people
Rémy Rioux
BrandsShaping Sustainable Futures
ServicesDevelopment assistance
Number of employees
3,000 (2020) Edit this on Wikidata

The French Development Agency (French: Agence française de développement, AFD) is a public financial institution that implements the policy defined by the French Government. It works to fight poverty and promote sustainable development. This public institution is active in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean and the French overseas territories, where it finances and supports projects that improve living conditions for populations, promote economic growth and protect the planet.[1]

In 2014, AFD earmarked EUR 8.1 billion to finance projects in developing countries and for the French overseas territories, a commitment up by 4% compared to 2013.[2] According to the OECD, France’s total ODA (USD 15.9 billion, preliminary data) increased in 2022, mostly due to an increase in aid to sub-Saharan Africa and in-donor refugee costs, representing 0.56% of gross national income (GNI). France is among the top providers of official development assistance (ODA) in volume, with a strong focus on Africa. [3]

Its headquarters is located in Paris. Its teams are based in Paris, Marseille and in a network of 72 agencies and representations abroad and in the French overseas territories.[4]


AFD is the descendant of the Caisse Centrale de la France Libre (Central Fund for Free France) created by an ordinance of Charles de Gaulle on December 2, 1941 in London. The fund's role was limited to a note-issuing bank and public treasury institution. The ordinance of 2 December 1941 gave the fund the responsibility for “issuing and taking charge of banknotes in the territories of Free France”, as well as for foreign exchange controls (ordinance of 24 July 1942).[5]

Just before the end of the Second World War, Pierre Mendès France, the Minister of Finance decided to change the function of the fund by giving it the responsibility of financing for the economic and social development of the French overseas territories. It became the Caisse Centrale de la France d'Outre-mer (CCFOM – Central Fund for the French Overseas Territories) on February 2, 1944. It did, however, maintain its role as a note-issuing bank.

Following the independence of a number of French colonies, CCFOM changed its name to Caisse Centrale de Coopération Economique (CCCE – Central Fund for Economic Cooperation) in 1958. Its monetary mandates were gradually taken over by two public institutions, the Institut d'Emission des Départements d'Outre-mer (IEDOM – Note-Issuing Bank for the French Overseas Departments), which was set up in 1959, and the Institut d'Emission d'Outre-mer (IEOM - Note-Issuing Bank for the French Overseas Territories), which was set up in 1967.

CCCE became Caisse Française de Développement (CFD – French Development Fund) in 1992.[6] Finally, with the reform of French cooperation in 1998, CFD became Agence Française de Développement (AFD – the French Development Agency) and the main operator for French development assistance.[7]

AFD’s Chief Executive Officers[edit]

Name CEO start date CEO end date
Caisse centrale de la France Libre (CCFL) André Diethelm December 2, 1941 November 24, 1942
Pierre Denis November 25, 1942 December 29, 1944
Caisse centrale de la France d’Outre-mer (CCFOM) André Postel-Vinay December 30, 1944 January 9, 1973
Caisse centrale de coopération économique (CCCE) Claude Panouillot January 10, 1973 August 2, 1979
Yves Roland-Billecart August 3, 1979 April 25, 1989
Caisse française de développement (CFD) Philippe Jurgensen April 26, 1989 April 24, 1995
Antoine Pouillieute April 25, 1995 April 25, 2001
Agence française de développement (AFD) Jean-Michel Severino April 26, 2001 June 1, 2010
Dov Zerah June 2, 2010 May 29, 2013
Anne Paugam June 3, 2013 June 1, 2016
Rémy Rioux June 2, 2016[8]

Visual identity[edit]

Recent history[edit]

In addition to a marked increase in its financing, between 2001 and 2010, there was a diversification in the financial instruments used by AFD: grants, of course, but also highly “concessional” loans or loans without interest subsidies, investment funds, guarantee funds and partnerships. AFD can provide loan recipients with liquidity to finance, at attractive rates – due to the AAA rating, the highest for long-term issuances, given to AFD by the international rating agencies –, their investment policies or programs when markets are unable to meet their needs.

In 2013, Anne Paugam took over from Dov Zerah as CEO. She is the first woman to head AFD.[9] In 2014, The Act on Development and International Solidarity recognized the importance of the work conducted by AFD towards France's international commitments.[10] In 2015, Gaël Giraud became AFD's Chief Economist.[11]

AFD’s framework for activity[edit]

General legal framework[edit]

As a specialized credit institution, AFD is subject to banking law, particularly in the field of risk sharing. AFD is a public financial institution. The Government has entrusted it with the role of the main operator for France's cooperation policy.[12] It thereby combines the functions of development bank and implementing agency for France's Official Development Assistance policy.

AFD and French government’s policy[edit]

AFD has a contract of objectives and policies with the state and implements the orientations defined by the Inter-ministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID),[13] chaired by the Prime Minister.

  • “Contribute to the implementation of the state’s official development assistance policy abroad”
  • “Contribute to the development of France’s overseas departments and territories, as well as New Caledonia.”[14]

In overseas France, AFD conducts a policy, on behalf of the state, to support public authorities and finance the economy. This mandate was reaffirmed during the first Inter-ministerial Committee for Overseas France, chaired by the French president, which was held in November 2009.[15]


Its board of directors comprises a chairperson and 16 members appointed by a decree, including 6 representatives of the State: Ministry of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Overseas France.[16]

AFD’s activities[edit]

Countries of operation
Countries of operation, 2015.

The French Development Agency (AFD) implements the policy defined by the French Government. It works to combat poverty and promote sustainable development.[17]

It achieves this by financing and supporting projects that improve living conditions for populations, promote economic growth and protect the planet.[18]

In 2014, AFD allocated EUR 8.1bn to finance projects, including EUR 6.35bn in developing countries and EUR 1.55bn for overseas France.[19]


In 2014, AFD allocated some EUR 767m to education and health and invested over EUR 633m in water and sanitation programs. Projects related to territorial development benefited from over EUR 4bn, i.e. almost half AFD's commitments, with projects in the energy, transport and telecommunications sectors in rural and urban areas.[20] For 2014, the breakdown for commitments by sector is as follows:

  • 22% in the productive sector,
  • 27% in infrastructure and urban development,
  • 21% in energy,
  • 2% in biodiversity and natural resources,
  • 8% in water and sanitation,
  • 9% in education and health,
  • 2% in agriculture and food security.
  • 7% is divided among various sectors.

Development and climate change[edit]

AFD also operates in emerging countries for issues related to the protection of the environment and energy management.[21]

In a crosscutting manner to these sectors, in 2014, AFD earmarked 53% of its international activity for the fight against climate change, i.e. EUR 2.8bn, which financed development projects that also have a positive impact on the climate.[22]

AFD, via the projects it finances and several initiatives, is gearing up for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). For example, with the GoodPlanet Foundation, it is putting on a photo exhibition “60 SOLUTIONS Against Climate Change”, which presents concrete, innovative and effective initiatives in four sectors that combine climate change and economic development.,[23][24]

Geographical areas of operation[edit]

AFD has been working for over sixty years to promote development in Southern countries and the French overseas territories. It is active in the field in over 90 countries, where it finances and supports projects that improve living conditions for populations, promote economic growth and protect the planet: getting children into school, assisting farmers, financing small businesses, water supply, tropical forest conservation, combating climate change... AFD's strategy is guided by sustainable development. Its operations are in line with the Millennium Development Goals, at the intersection of the objectives of economic growth, poverty reduction and environmental conservation.[25]

A wide range of financial and technical instruments meet the different needs of countries: grants, guarantees, equity investments, subsidized loans, loans on market terms and technical assistance.

It develops financial and intellectual partnerships with other donors and contributes, in conjunction with its supervisory authorities, to public policymaking and to France's influence in the development sphere.

Latin America and Caribbean[edit]

In Latin America and the Caribbean, AFD promotes sustainable and equitable development through green and inclusive growth. There are a number of projects to fight climate change, for urban development, as well as projects to promote social convergence.

Sub-Saharan Africa[edit]

Sub-Saharan Africa is the priority region for France's public development policy.[26] In 2014, AFD invested EUR 2.95bn in the region, i.e. 36.5% of its total financing. Among the many projects, a number focus on promoting access to essential services, the growth of sustainable cities, the development of infrastructure, family farming and job-creating enterprises, as well as on the preservation of natural resources.[27]


In Asia, AFD works to promote environmental and regional balances, with a focus on projects that limit the environmental footprint of cities or contribute to regional convergence.

Mediterranean and Middle East[edit]

AFD supports the region's political and economic transition, with a focus on promoting Euro-Mediterranean integration, territorial development and job creation. The AFD also funds restoration works, such as that of the Saint Hilarion monastery which the AFD funded in order to have the Byzantine-era site inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.[28]

Overseas France[edit]

Since 1946, AFD has had a public service mandate to provide a reference public service provision for credit and social housing. In 2014, overseas France accounted for 19% of AFD's activity, i.e. EUR 1.55bn. AFD conducts several types of action in overseas France. Its activities are based on the following areas: financing and assisting public policies, advisory services for local authorities, promoting business competitiveness and job creation, supporting regional integration and action for sustainable development.[29] This involves financing and supporting projects that improve living conditions for populations and promote economic growth, while preserving the environment. Thanks to its financing, its expertise and its knowledge production, it assists the local public sector, finances companies, housing and urban development, and supports regional cooperation.

It fulfills this mandate through nine agencies throughout the overseas territories: French Guiana, French Polynesia, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, New Caledonia, Réunion, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna.

In the overseas departments (DOM), in Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Pierre and Miquelon, AFD also represents the public investment bank Bpifrance, which finances the creation, innovation, investments and international development of French SMEs.

AFD is the reference shareholder in seven social housing companies (Simar in Martinique, Sic in New Caledonia, Sig in Guadeloupe, SIDR in Réunion, Siguy and Simko in French Guiana and Sim in Mayotte). These property companies promote, manage and build social housing.

Finally, it provides part of the staff of the note-issuing banks, Institut d'Emission d'Outre-mer and Institut d'Emission des Départements d'Outre-mer.

Financing allocated by AFD Group in 2014 (EUR million)[30]
Geographical area Project grants, support for NGO operations, miscellaneous grants Budget support and Debt Reduction-Development Contracts Loans Guarantees Equity investments and other securities Financing with resources from other donors Total 2014 Total 2013
Latin America and Caribbean 19,3 1184,2 0,3 11,0 11,0 1225,7 1192,7
Sub-Saharan Africa 215,5 444,0 2041,1 109,0 80,5 54,8 2945,0 3001,7
Asia and Pacific 34,3 1122,9 0,3 11,0 11,0 1225,7 1192,7
Mediterranean, Middle East 30,6 827,6 10,4 56,7 134,0 1059,3 838,2
Overseas France 0,4 1378,6 161,5 7,0 1547,5 1505,6
Programs common to several geographical areas 313,6 444,0 5218,0 145,9 163,7 245,2 6530,4 6322,1
Total 314,0 444,0 6596,6 307,4 170,7 245,2 8077,9 7827,7

Knowledge production[edit]

Knowledge production is a major activity for AFD and aims to contribute to the definition of the public policies of France and its partners. It has become an essential complement to the financial and technical tools. AFD's knowledge production started to play an important role in the 2000s. This drive for knowledge production is based on the organization of seminars and conferences, training given by CEFEB, a studies and research program, and the establishment of partnerships with academic and research institutes.

AFD also offers a number of publications on developing countries and the French overseas territories:

  • Afrique Contemporaine, a sociological, political and economic review on Africa;
  • The Working Papers series, which reports on ongoing research;
  • The ExPost publications;
  • The Focales series, which describes practical case studies (projects, partnerships, experiments...) and puts them into perspective;
  • The A Savoir series, which gathers either literature reviews or existing knowledge on issues that present an operational interest;
  • The Recherches series, which presents research actions initiated or led by AFD;
  • The Conférences et Séminaires series, which provides a wide audience of readers with the main outcomes and lessons learned from the research conducted by AFD and its partner development assistance actors;
  • The MacroDev series, which provides analyses focused on a country, region, or on macroeconomic issues related to development processes;
  • Publications co-edited with the World Bank;
  • Other co-publications;
  • Regards sur la Terre, the annual sustainable development report coordinated by AFD and IDDRI;
  • The Ideas for Development blog, a forum for exchanges coordinated by AFD, open to development actors and the public interested in development.[31]

All this contributes to improving knowledge of the Official Development Assistance policy: “its rationale, its effectiveness, its interactions with the other public policies, its role in the management of globalization”[32] AFD's aim is to become an internationally recognized research center, both in terms of sustainable development and global public goods, and the design of innovative financing instruments.

AFD departments and subsidiaries[edit]


PROPARCO is an AFD subsidiary set up in 1977. It is a development finance institution with a mandate to promote private investments for growth, sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in emerging and developing countries. It provides financing tailored to the specific needs of investors in the productive sector, financial systems, infrastructure and private equity.[33]

PROPARCO is jointly held by AFD (59.04%) and private shareholders from the North and South.[34]


The Center for Economic and Banking Studies (CEFEB) is AFD's training institute. It is based in Marseille and offers training for partners from the South in order to contribute to building their capacities. It also acts as a platform for the dissemination of AFD's expertise towards its partners.[35]


AFD handles the secretariat and financial management of the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM), a bilateral public fund set up by the French Government in 1994. It is a financial instrument for France's cooperation and development policy dedicated to environmental protection and sustainable development.

It is coordinated by five ministries (Economy and Finance, Foreign Affairs, Sustainable Development, Research, Agriculture) and AFD.[36]

Controversial issues[edit]

In 2007, AFD was called into question for its support for French companies suspected of contributing to deforestation in Central Africa.[37] However, no legal proceedings were brought against AFD.

AFD has strict procedures during project appraisal for impact control and measurement in terms of social and environmental responsibility.[38] It has provided EUR 900,000 of financing to the Central Africa Forest Commission (COMIFAC), which is responsible for guiding, coordinating, harmonizing and taking decisions in terms of the conservation and sustainable management of forest ecosystems. Mr. Joyandet, French Secretary of State for Cooperation and Francophonie from March 2008 to July 2010, criticized the Chief Executive Officer at the time, Mr. Severino, for AFD's emergency-oriented approach, without a long term-vision and a certain lack of scope. However, the Minister's remarks did not gain wide consensus among the development community.[39]

According to the Cameroon National Anti-corruption Commission (CONAC), two front companies, including one controlled by AFD, have been suspected of fraud. In December 2013, CONAC presented its 2012 activity report in Yaoundé, indicating that over CFA 113bn had been misappropriated from the cotton development company (SODECOTON) between 2002 and 2011.[40]

In December 2021, created under the name Caisse centrale de la France libre in 1941, the public financial institution could change its name again in the coming months, 80 years after its launch. Or a project in the process of reflection, which also includes an overhaul of its operation and its development policy, which "appear unsuitable in relation to our experience", according to its director Rémy Rioux.

See also[edit]

Marketplace on Innovative Financial Solutions for Development


  1. ^ Agence Française du Développement 2014 Annual Report
  2. ^ « Développement : l’Afrique et le climat, priorités de la France », Les Echos, 18 March 2015 (read online [archive])
  3. ^ "OECD Development Co-operation Profiles". Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  4. ^ Who are we?” [archive], at (consulted 23 June 2015)
  5. ^ 70 ans d'engagement pour le développement. De la caisse centrale à l'AFD, Agence Française de Développement and Cliomédia, October 2011, 223 p. (ISBN 2909522326), pp. 22–27
  6. ^ Decree of 30 October 1992 [archive], Official Journal no 255 of 1 November 1992.
  7. ^ Decree of 17 April 1998 [archive], Official Journal no 92 of 19 April 1998, p. 6067.
  8. ^ a b "Compte rendu du Conseil des ministres du mercredi 25 mai 2016". Officer of the President of France. Archived from the original on 2016-05-28. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  9. ^ Christian Losson, « Anne Paugam. Equilibriste Nord-Sud », Libération, 27 November 2014 (read online [archive])
  10. ^ ACT n° 2014-773 of 7 July 2014 on the Orientation and Programming of the Development and International Solidarity Policy” [archive], on, 7 July 2014 (consulted on 3 July 2015)
  11. ^ Claire Guélaud, « Gaël Giraud, un économiste hors-norme à l’Agence française de développement », Le Monde, 6 July 2015 (read online [archive])
  12. ^ « La place et le rôle de l’Agence Française de Développement (AFD) dans l’aide publique au développement » [archive], at, 1 August 2001 (consulted 21 July 2015)
  13. ^ Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development of 31 July 2013” [archive], at, 31 July 2013 (consulted 21 July 2015)
  14. ^ AFD’s Statutes AFD on LEGIFRANCE following the publication of the Decree of 3 November 2014” [archive], at, 3 November 2014 (consulted on 21 July 2015)
  15. ^ First Interministerial Committee for Overseas France” [archive], at, 16 November 2011
  16. ^ AFD’s Board of Directors” [archive], at, March 2015
  17. ^ Publication of Agence Française de Développement’s Annual report Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine” [archive], at, 26 May 2014 (consulted 22 July 2015)
  18. ^ AFD in figures [archive] *
  19. ^ Our results in the field” [archive], at (consulted 21 July 2015)
  20. ^ "Climate: AFD’s Solutions Around the World. Project briefs – January 2015" [archive], at, January 2015 (consulted 21 July 2015)
  21. ^ Reconciling Climate and Development” [archive], at (consulted 21 July 2015)
  22. ^ 60 Solutions Against Climate Change” [archive], at, June 2015 (consulted 21 July 2015)
  23. ^ 60 Solutions” [archive], at (consulted 21 July 2015)
  24. ^ « Objectifs 2015 » [archive], at (consulted 22 July 2015)
  25. ^ France’s Bilateral Aid Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine” [archive], at, 24 December 2013 (consulted 22 July 2015)
  26. ^ « Afrique Subsaharienne – Légère hausse des financements de l’AFD en 2014 », Jeune Afrique, 19 March 2015 (read online Archived 2015-03-21 at the Stanford Web Archive [archive])
  27. ^ « L’AFD soutient plus de 75% des collectivités d’Outre-mer », Polynésie 1ere, 2 April 2015 (read online [archive])
  28. ^ F., K. (29 March 2022). "Palestine signs €29 million support agreements with AFD". WAFA. Palestinian News & Information Agency-WAFA. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  29. ^ About us” [archive], at (consulted 22 July 2015)
  30. ^ Annual Report 2006.
  31. ^ Annual Report 2014 (PROPARCO) Archived 2015-07-21 at the Wayback Machine” [archive], at (consulted 17 July 2015)
  32. ^ About us” [archive], at, June 2015 (consulted 17 July 2015)
  33. ^ Presentation (CEFEB)” [archive], at, January 2013 (consulted 17 July 2015)
  34. ^ French Facility for Global Environment” [archive], at (consulted 17 July 2015)
  35. ^ FFEM, a collegiate instrument for intervention Archived 2015-07-21 at the Wayback Machine” [archive], at, June 2014 (consulted 17 July 2015)
  36. ^ AFD’s approach to environmental and social risk management Archived 2009-05-03 at the Wayback Machine - AFD website [archive]
  37. ^ Le Quotidien des mutations- Patricia Ngo Ngouem - 26 Oct 2010 [archive]
  38. ^ L'AFD « développe 3,5 milliards d'euros de crédit alors qu'elle pourrait en catalyser trois fois plus ! Il faut que j'arrive pour lui demander de se bouger. Qu'est-ce que fait son patron, à part gérer le quotidien ? », in Christian Losson, « Les pays émergents se sont pris en main », interview: Le secrétaire d'État à la Coopération revient sur l'aide française au développement avant le sommet de Doha [archive] », in Libération, 29 November 2008. Consulted 7 April 2010.
  39. ^ « Une charge trop directe contre l’AFD - Les propos de Joyandet sur l’agence française de développement sont critiqués.  » [archive] Christian Losson, Libération, 29 November 2008. Indeed, AFD’s activity more than doubled between 2004 and 2008. In 2009, there was a growth in commitments which raised the activity to EUR 6.2bn, i.e. a 40% increase compared to 2008. AFD in figures [archive]
  40. ^ Cameroon: Two front companies, one controlled by AFD, suspected of fraud” [archive]

External links[edit]