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Ministry of Foreign Affairs implementing agencies

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs oversees eight implementing agencies

In 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs embarked on a process of reform according to guidelines set in part by the General Review of Public Policies (RGPP) and in part by the white paper on France’s foreign policy published in July 2008.

The reform has made France’s soft diplomacy more readily understandable and more effective by:

-  confirming the coordinating and strategic role of the Ministry’s central administration (creation of the Directorate General of Globalisation, Development and Partnerships – DGM – in March 2009)
-  entrusting the task of implementation to implementing agencies. The law of 27 July 2010 on the external action of the State provided for the creation of three public bodies tasked with "promoting the presence and influence of France abroad and participating in the external action of the State, in particular through the implementation in other countries of cultural, cooperation and partnership initiatives and through management of the resources necessary for such action".

2011 therefore saw the founding of the Institut Français, France Expertise Internationale (FEI) and Campus France, taking to a total of eight the number of implementing agencies over which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (via la DGM - Directorate General of Globalisation, Development and Partnerships) exercises oversight, alone or in conjunction with other government departments.

What is an implementing agency?

In order to be designated an implementing agency, a legal personality, irrespective of its legal status, must:

-  perform a public service activity that can be explicitly associated with the implementation of a policy defined by the State;
-  be primarily State-funded, either directly in the form of grants or indirectly via allocation of resources, in particular fiscal resources;
-  be directly controlled by the State. This is not confined to economic or financial control but must rather be the exercise of oversight with the capacity to direct strategic decisions, whether or not this capacity is accompanied by membership of the Board of Directors.

Overview of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Implementing Agencies

Agence Française de Développement (AFD)

Agence Française de Développement is a financial institution at the very heart of France’s programme of official development assistance (ODA) to poor countries. Its role is to participate in financing development.

Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Etranger (AEFE)

The Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Etranger (AEFE), founded in 1990, is a national public body under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It provides a public education service on behalf of French children living outside France and contributes to the dissemination of French language and culture and to the strengthening of relations between the education systems of France and of other countries. The purpose of the AEFE is to serve and promote a unique worldwide educational network consisting of 470 schools in 130 countries.

Campus France

Campus France is tasked with simplifying schemes to welcome foreign students and researchers to France in an increasingly competitive environment by:

-  supporting the development of international academic and scientific mobility by promoting courses, guidance and reception facilities for mobile students and encouraging the invitation of teachers, teaching fellows and researchers;
-  contributing to improvements in academic and scientific attractiveness and mobility;
-  contributing to improvements in the conditions in which foreign students live and study in France.

Canal France International (CFI)

Canal France International (CFI) was established 20 years ago as the implementing agency for French media cooperation with the countries of Africa, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Asia. CFI, a subsidiary of the France Télévisions Group, receives a subsidy from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to operate a network of media partners.

On the strength of its past experience as a broadcaster, CFI is well placed to identify the needs of its partners and offer appropriate solutions whatever the working language of the channel concerned. CFI assists its partners in their strategic thinking and decisions as they move towards the new digital media.

France Expertise Internationale (FEI)

France Expertise International is responsible for promoting French technical expertise on the international stage. The FEI works hand in hand with national public and private implementing agencies and with its European counterparts in the EUNIDA grouping.

Institut Français

On 1 January 2011, Culturesfrance became the Institut Français, the new name for France’s cultural external action around the world. The agency works to promote international cultural exchanges, contemporary creativity, the French language and ideas and knowledge in general.

France Volontaires

France Volontaires is the platform for international solidarity volunteers, providing information and guidance for those wishing to volunteer. As an expert in the field of voluntary work, France Volontaires plays a part in mobilising national and local authorities and NGOs, engages in future-oriented thinking and acts as an observatory.


The public interest group "Ensemble pour une Solidarité Thérapeutique Hospitalière en Réseau" (GIP ESTHER) is one France’s most effective tools for promoting access to treatment for patients suffering from HIV/AIDS and its co-infections in developing countries. It promotes and coordinates the implementation and follow-up of initiatives by French hospitals and NGOs in local healthcare institutions and communities.

ESTHER operated under the oversight of the Ministry of Health until 2008, and then on 1 January 2009 came under the responsibility of Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Programme 209. The two ministries contribute equally to financing the running costs of the GIP.

GIP ESTHER acts in liaison with the international agencies responsible for combating HIV/AIDS: Global Fund, WHO, UNITAID.

Updated: August 2013.



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