Ministry of Foreign Affairs implementing agencies
For 20 years, Canal France International (CFI) has operated French media cooperation in Africa, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Asia. As a subsidiary of France Télévisions Group, CFI leads a network of partners from the media sector.
In 2008, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development launched a reform processbased on the objectives set during the General Review of Public Policies process and in the White Paper on France’s Foreign and European Policy, published in July 2008.
This reform increased the clarity and efficiency of French soft diplomacy: :
- the coordination and strategy-setting role of the Ministry’s central administration was confirmed (creation of the Directorate-General of Global Affairs, Development and Partnerships in March 2009) ;;
- policy implementation was assigned to operators.
What is a State operator?
To be described as a State operator, a legal person, whatever its legal status, must:
- perform a public service activity that is explicitly linked to the implementation of a policy defined by the State;
- receive most of its funding from the State, either directly via subsidies or indirectly via allocated resources, especially tax revenues;
- be directly supervised by the State. Rather than being limited to economic or financial matters, this supervision must extend to guiding strategic decisions, which may or may not mean involvement in the board of directors.
Overview of the operators of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAEDI)
The MAEDI supervises 11 establishments, independently or alongside other government departments. These operators work in various strategic areas covered by the MAEDI:
Agence Française de Développement (AFD)
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD), a public agency that is central to French cooperation, works to combat poverty and foster the development of countries of the South. It also promotes social and economic growth in Overseas France. AFD is responsible for funding projects, programmes and studies and helping the developing countries with which it is partnered to build their capacities. It is supervised by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the French Ministry of the Economy, Industry and the Digital Sector, the French Ministry of Finance and Public Accounts, and the French Ministry for Overseas France.
Canal France International (CFI)
For 20 years, Canal France International (CFI) has been the operator for French audiovisual cooperation with Africa, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Asia. As a subsidiary of the France Télévisions group, CFI leads a network of partners from the media sector.
Building on its previous experience as a television channel, CFI is able to identify their needs and offer appropriate solutions, whatever their working language. CFI also supports the discussion process and strategic choices of its partners in their switchover to new digital media.
ESTHER, a solidarity-based hospital network initiative, aims to increase treatment access for people suffering from HIV/AIDS and related co-infections in developing countries. It coordinates action by French hospitals and associations in health establishments and local communities.
ESTHER is an operator of the MAEDI and the French Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Women’s Rights, and collaborates with international bodies working to combat HIV/AIDS, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNITAID, etc.
France Expertise Internationale (FEI)
France Expertise Internationale (FEI) promotes French technical assistance and expertise worldwide, in support of international cooperation and development.
FEI works in collaboration with national public and private operators and in liaison with its European counterparts in the EUNIDA network.
Under an act passed on 7 July 2014, FEI will be replaced by AFETI, the French agency for international technical expertise. This new operator will be merged with other operators, including ESTHER, from January 2015.
France Volontaires is a platform for international solidarity volunteering. Founded on 1 October 2009, it aims to promote and develop different types of commitment within the framework of International Volunteering for Exchanges and Solidarity (VIES) and contribute to their implementation. It is responsible for providing information and guidance to the actors involved (candidates, volunteers, host organizations and sending organizations). With its expert knowledge of volunteering, it helps to mobilize national governments, local governments and associations. In this way, France Volontaires contributes to forecasting and monitoring in this field.
Foreign trade and tourism
Atout France, the French tourism development agency, was set up under the Act of 22 July 2009 on developing and modernizing tourism services. It is responsible for contributing to the development of the tourism industry, which is the largest sector of the French economy. Thanks to its thorough monitoring and analysis of the international tourism market, the agency is able to support tourism professionals throughout every stage of the production process: from design and development through to commercialization. The three main objectives pursued by the agency are to promote tourism in France, carry out tourism engineering projects, and implement a policy to boost the competitiveness and quality of businesses in the industry. It sets the national strategy for promoting France as a tourist destination, based on guidelines set by the State, and is supported by a network of more than 400 collaborators in France and abroad, as well as 35 offices in 32 countries.
Under the National Pact for Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, the French Government has decided to merge IFA and UBIFRANCE from January 2015.
UBIFRANCE, the French Agency for International Business Development, is an industrial and commercial public entity established by the Act of 1 August 2003 for economic initiatives. UBIFRANCE is responsible for supporting the export activities of SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises. It is tasked with promoting the international development of French businesses by conducting or coordinating all action relating to information; training; promotion; technical, industrial and trade cooperation; and international volunteering. It supports French businesses seeking to export their products, in accordance with their needs and profile, from the initial comprehensive export analysis through to the implementation of their projects on foreign markets.
Invest in France Agency (IFA)
The Invest in France Agency (IFA) is an industrial and commercial public entity established by the Act of 15 May 2001 on new economic regulations. It is charged with seeking out foreign investors and assisting them in France, with the help of its regional partners, as well as enhancing France’s economic image abroad. To this end, it coordinates the action of the State, local governments and development agencies, service providers and businesses. In addition, the IFA proposes measures to the Government to boost France’s attractiveness.
Culture, education and the French language
As the MAEDI’s key operator for cultural diplomacy, the Institut Français is charged with promoting France’s cultural action abroad, including artistic exchanges, visual arts, architecture, cinema, ideas and knowledge.
In doing so, it helps to strengthen France’s influence worldwide and to encourage international cultural exchange. The Institut Français also promotes the French language abroad, as well as providing training and support for French cultural network staff.
Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE)
The Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE), which was set up in 1990, fulfils public service duties regarding the education of French children living outside France and helps to raise the profile of the French language and culture, as well as strengthening relations between the French and foreign education systems. The AEFE’s objective is to serve and promote a school network which is the first of its kind in the world, bringing together 488 schools based in 130 countries.
Campus France is responsible for implementing policy to boost France’s attractiveness, under the joint supervision of the MAEDI and the French Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research. Its main objectives are as follows:
promote and raise the profile of French higher education and research establishments (increasing international scientific and academic mobility);,
improve hosting and support of foreign students and researchers,
run a network of students and researchers (Alumni network).
Last updated: October 2014