“A comprehensive technical and financial support offer”

Expertise France CEO


How do you assess the integration of Expertise France into AFD Group, one year down the road?

R.R.The results are very positive. In 2022 we experienced the first year of our brand new AFD Group with Expertise France included. As we saw when we presented our results—first to the AFD Board on April 20, 2023, and then to the press on April 26— our Group not only met all its objectives, but it also set new records! These include €12.3 billion in new agreements signed, 1,000 new projects, €9 billion in disbursements, 65% in financing that contributes to fighting climate change and 62% for gender equality, and more. Expertise France is largely responsible for these results! Our 625 new colleagues and their network of 1,000 experts around the world have greatly contributed to this growth and to this transition from communication based on financial commitments to communication based on action, that’s to say projects that are carried out in concrete terms, on the ground, producing results and impact for people.

But Expertise France’s contribution to AFD Group is invaluable regardless of these results. With Expertise France, AFD Group has, for example, become a major player in global health, which happens to be Expertise France’s second-largest sector of intervention. A total of 64 million people will benefit from improved care thanks to AFD Group’s new projects in 2022. And the outlook for the next few years is very encouraging. Here, I’d like to congratulate Expertise France and our colleagues in its Health Department for their success in implementing L’Initiative, which is going to manage 20% of France’s contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as announced by the President of the French Republic in September 2022, at the Fund’s replenishment conference. I could of course also mention Expertise France’s significant work in peace and security, governance, and justice, and its action in Ukraine, which all contribute to the growth of AFD Group as a whole.

Now that we have Expertise France in our Group, we can offer all our partners a comprehensive and unrivaled offer of technical and financial support. AFD Group is now a bit like the World Bank, the IFC, and the UNDP all rolled up into one! Few bilateral development finance players can match our strength and continuum of financial offerings and expertise. We’ll nurture and maximize these in the coming years.

Africa is one of the priorities of French official development assistance. What does this mean for Expertise France?

J.P. Half of AFD Group’s financing commitments and 65% of Expertise France’s activities are concentrated in Africa. It’s very important to maintain this commitment for and with Africa at a time when the continent is facing very serious financial difficulties.

We’re part of the new partnership that has developed since the New Africa-France Summit of 2021. We’re also firmly committed to mobilizing and supporting youth, cultural and creative industries, entrepreneurship, and sports, and in 2023 we’ll continue to develop our contribution in Group format to the transformational agenda put forward by the President of the Republic.

Meanwhile, AFD Group has worked with Expertise France to create emblematic projects in line with these priorities. I’m especially thinking of our women’s entrepreneurship projects in Niger, our partnership with NBA Africa, and—outside of Africa—our support to the music industry in Palestine.

Youth is a key theme of the transformational agenda established by the French Government to rebuild our bilateral relations. Our support programs for youth are seeking to boost access to education as well as entrepreneurial and innovative capacity. We also sponsor socio-professional integration programs to increase youth participation in economic life. In parallel, we similarly want to mobilize French youth so that they support international cooperation.

Few bilateral development finance players can match our strength and continuum of financial offerings and expertise.

What’s the strategic outlook for French development policy and AFD Group?

R.R. Along with Expertise France, we’re proud to put into motion and work for the renewed ambition of French development policy and for the international partnerships that the President of the Republic has developed since 2017. This ambition has already raised France to fourth position globally in 2022, in terms of countries showing the most solidarity: 0.56% of our GNI is now devoted to official development assistance, representing more than €15 billion euros, a record for France!

We’re now at a new strategic turning point: at the French level with the Presidential Development Council and the Inter-ministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development meetings, which will both be held before the summer, and at the international level with the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact, which will be held on June 22–23 in Paris and will redefine the framework in which we operate.

At the AFD Group level, talks with the French Government on our future agreements on targets and resources have begun, and we’ve already started our own reflections on our future strategic guidelines—the first one that will include Expertise France. These guidelines will of course reflect the broad orientations determined by the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister during the Presidential Development Council and the Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development meetings. We can already say that Expertise France will have a specific role to play when it comes to the planet, social link, and strengthening of democratic institutions, which are at the heart of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

What consequences has the enlargement of AFD Group had on Expertise France’s mandate?

J.P. Being part of AFD Group opens up possibilities in new countries and regions. Without abandoning our focus on Africa, Expertise France is now increasing its actions targeting the European Neighbourhood, the major emerging countries, and the Indo-Pacific region. Development of a Group network will allow us to strengthen our geographical footprint and work closely alongside our partners. Another challenge is to continue to diversify our activity by working on new themes, such as the just transition, or by developing more enhanced Group offers in collaboration with AFD and Proparco. For example, we can target the private sector and entrepreneurship as part of the Choose Africa 2 initiative, in an effort to strengthen African tech ecosystems.

For our part, we’re proud to have enabled AFD Group to provide emergency support to the Ukrainian Government and to be part of the longer-term response of reconstruction and support for Ukraine’s institutions.

Interview conducted in May 2023

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