Agence Française de Développement (AfD)


Organizational profile: The Agence Française de Développement (AfD) funds, supports and accelerates the transitions to a fairer and more sustainable world. Focusing on climate, biodiversity, peace, education, urban development, health and governance, our teams carry out more than 4,000 projects in France’s overseas departments and territories and another 115 countries. In this way, we contribute to the commitment of France and French people to support the sustainable development goals. AFD is a public institution, but it does not receive any operating subsidies from the state. AFD is largely self-financing thanks to its lending activities, and it even pays the state, its shareholder, a few million euros in dividends every year.

For more than 10 years AfD has been committed to the climate, by interconnecting our actions among three themes: mitigation of climate change (i.e. limiting greenhouse gases); adaptation to the impacts of climate change (i.e. reducing the exposure and vulnerability of people and territories to climate events); and support to States, communities and territories in the setting up of development trajectories that are low-carbon and resilient to climate change. With 40 billion euros of financing approved for the climate since 2005 and 6.1 billion euros in 2019, AfD is one of the main international donors providing climate financing.

A priority just as crucial as the climate, protecting biodiversity is central to AFD's actions. To halt the loss of biodiversity and protect ecosystems, AFD is supporting the restoration and sustainable management of natural areas, with and for the benefit of local populations, and it integrates this dimension in all its development policies. To ensure the sustainability of actions aimed at protecting biodiversity, the AFD group promotes better management of natural areas, sustainable methods of using resources (forests, fishing, agriculture, hunting) and enhancing the value of products from these uses.

Financing Instrument: Loans (main financing tool), Guarantees and equity participation, Grants, Debt Reduction-Development Contract, technical assistance

Project scale: Recent forest-related project funding has ranged from €37,500 for a one year grant to $800,000,000 for a sovereign concessional loan.

Recipient countries/regions/country groups: Global

Recipient categories: AFD's funding is aimed at governments, local authorities, public and private companies, including banks, French NGOs and foundations.

Eligibility Criteria:

AFD does not directly finance NGOs in developing countries: its funding is channelled through French NGO programs. Nor does it fund projects carried out by individuals.

AfD co-finances around half of their projects with partners. AFD funds development or technical assistance programmes put together and implemented by partners with recognised competency in the relevant sphere of action (NGOs, states, local authorities, foundations, companies, etc.).

AFD offers loans to governments, local authorities, public institutions and foundations.

AFD provides grants for projects carried out by French NGOs.

AFD has set up grants intended for French local authorities (FICOL) to support developing countries, particularly in terms of technical expertise.

AFD offers guarantees to French companies (FASEP) to support the establishment of French SMEs abroad.

AFD offers loans and guarantees or makes equity investments in companies located in the countries in which it is active, mainly via PROPARCO, its private-sector financing arm.

AFD provides guarantees and credit lines to banks and financial institutions in the countries in which it is active, in order to facilitate access to funding for small businesses in developing countries.

Application guidelines: When an application for funding, whether a loan or a donation, is submitted it systematically goes through several levels of validation within AFD: an opinion is issued on the sustainable development aspect, a study is done, and then the project initiator's action plans are assessed by their specialist teams. The aim is to evaluate the impacts, risks and any points requiring vigilance. The entire process takes several months. Finally, the application is put to the board of directors (whose members are elected officials, representatives of the ministries and civil society) before being finally validated.

Applying is a four-step process:

1. Read the page describing the call for projects in which you are interested

2. Download the documents relating to the call for projects

3. Prepare your application (by gathering the information and documents you must provide in order to apply)

4. Apply by completing the application form and submitting your documents.

Before completing the form, applicants should read carefully the eligibility criteria for the call for projects in question and gather all the requisite documents.

French civil society organizations (CSOs) leading an international solidarity project can apply for financing.

Methods: every year, for two months (May-June), a call for the expression of project intentions invites CSOs to submit a financing request for the following year. Once their project intention has been shortlisted, CSOs submit their project between October and June in the following year.

Amount of the CSO project: the total project amount must be above or equal to €300,000. Projects for a total amount of between €200,000 and €300,000 may only be declared eligible in specific and justified geographical and/or sectoral contexts.

AFD co-financing (%): the co-financing limit for “field” projects with French public funds, including AFD, the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) and French ministries (central and decentralized services) is:

- A maximum of 50% of the total budget of field projects and a maximum of 60% if they are in consortium.

- A maximum of 60% of the total budget of EAD-SI and SMA projects.

For CSOs leading a project with an amount below €300,000, AFD supports two dedicated programs:

- The facility managed by the Micro-Project Agency. The Agency cofinances projects and assists project initiators with the preparation, supervision and evaluation of their initiatives.

- The Support Program for International Solidarity Organizations from Immigration (OSIM), led by the Forum of Migrant International Solidarity Organizations (FORIM). FORIM co-finances and supports local development microprojects with an amount below €120,000.

Publication Date
Thursday, 01 April 2021
Applicable location
Biodiversity conservation
Climate change
Forest conservation and management
Sustainable land use
Financing opportunities