Development Assistance


Agence Française de Développement (AFD)

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The Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) funds, supports and accelerates the transition towards a fairer and more sustainable world.

Focusing on climate, biodiversity, peace, education, urban planning, health and governance, its teams are involved in more than 4,000 projects in overseas France and 115 countries. Its activities support France and the French people’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The AFD is a public agency which implements France’s policy in the areas of development and international solidarity. It is active in many sectors and offers a wide range of financial and non-financial services. It works for the benefit of all, seeking to prevent crises and build shared prosperity. Its key priorities include reconciling the urgent issues of the climate and development and fighting inequality.

The AFD supports governments, businesses, local authorities and NGOs. It builds synergies to foster, feed into and promote the deployment of innovative solutions that benefit people.

With a presence in 115 countries through 85 offices, the AFD funds and monitors more than 4,000 development projects. Thanks to its extensive network of researchers and experts, it also takes part in dialogue on public policy, shares its knowledge, and raises awareness of issues related to development and international solidarity.

Canal France International (CFI)

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Canal France International (CFI), the French media development agency, is a subsidiary of France Médias Monde. It fosters the development of media outlets in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, the Mediterranean and the Levant.

The agency identifies and analyses needs, then commits alongside medias, the professionals running them and civil society stakeholders working to promote diverse, reliable and democratic media.

CFI designs and implements projects centred around local media to expand, strengthen and enhance the credibility of local information and debate, particularly in fragile regions or those exposed to conflicts, political destabilization and pandemics.

Its activities are focused on young people – and young peoples – of African and Mediterranean countries; digital technologies and new distribution channels; and Francophonie, along with the latter’s values.

Focuses covering the sector’s key challenges

CFI teams are working on some 30 projects, falling within three wider programmes:

  • Media and business, supporting the economic development of media outlets;
  • Media and governance, strengthening the role of the media in public debate;
  • Media and development, supporting media commitment to sustainable development.

French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD)

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Cirad is the French body for agricultural research and international cooperation for the sustainable development of tropical and Mediterranean regions.

Convinced that agriculture is a powerful lever for development, along with its partners, it develops and shares knowledge and innovation to support development in developing countries.

At the heart of its work is biodiversity, healthcare (plants, animals and ecosystems), agroecology, the development of rural territories, food systems and climate change.

The CIRAD has a presence on all continents and has 1,650 employees, including 800 researchers, and a global network of partners and regional directorates in over 100 countries.


With its developing country partners, Cirad develops and passes on new knowledge to support innovation and agricultural development.
It puts its scientific and institutional expertise to use for public policies in these countries and international debates on major global issues regarding agriculture, food, biodiversity and climate change. It supports France’s scientific diplomacy.

Development through research

Cirad has a key priority: to build sustainable agriculture, which is adapted to climate change and capable of feeding 10 billion humans by 2050, while preserving the environment.

Cirad believes that to develop over the long term and draft appropriate public policies, a society must help generate the knowledge it needs. This development through research depends on the ability of countries to set up suitable higher education and research systems, with the support of governments, but with genuine independence.

Both locally and globally, with its long-term partnerships, Cirad helps develop agriculture for all, particularly small farmers, who make up the vast majority of farmers.

In this way, it addresses the global challenges of food security, climate change and the preservation of biodiversity, but also the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Training and knowledge-sharing

Training, disseminating information and sharing knowledge and innovation round off Cirad’s research mission.

Diploma-based or vocational training in countries of the South is an essential aspect, which is based on the commitment of each researcher.

Cirad is also heavily involved in dialogue between Europe and Africa. It is a member of many European and international networks, facilitates its Southern partners’ access to community programmes and helps them join international scientific cooperation networks.


CIRAD has a network of partners across three continents and regional directorates, through which it collaborates with over 100 countries. Its long-term partnership is built around partnership-based research and development mechanisms, bringing together 200 institutions from countries of the South, to which 200 of their researchers are assigned (50% to Africa, 25% to Asia and 25% to South America).

In France, it provides the national and international scientific community with an important research and training network, located mainly in Montpellier and French overseas territories.

Expertise France

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Expertise France is the French public international technical cooperation agency. Its role is to help implement French policy on cooperation, development assistance and economic influence.

Expertise France endeavours to meet the growing demand for expertise in developing, emerging and European neighbourhood countries to build public policies and address institutional, economic, demographic, social and environmental challenges.

Expertise France designs and implements projects which aim to contribute to the balanced development of partner countries, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda and the priorities of France’s external action.

Taking action for development

Development policy has undergone major changes in recent years. Significant progress has been made in the fight against poverty, access to health and education. However, inequalities remain and are exacerbated by climate change and the emergence of new conflicts.

Expertise France’s mission is to respond to the demands of partner countries seeking to enhance the quality of their public policies in order to address the environmental, social, economic and security challenges they are facing.

It does so by implementing projects in the main areas of public action:

  • Democratic, economic and financial governance;
  • Peace, stability and security;
  • Sustainable development, climate and agriculture;
  • Health and human development.

Making expertise a component of solidarity and influence

Expertise France contributes to the development policy objectives of international solidarity and influence through its actions in the field.

By making the transfer of know-how central to its action, Expertise France promotes working methods, legal and technical standards, but also a French and European vision of economic development and governance.

France Volontaires

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France Volontaires is France’s international volunteer programme.

Created in 2009 as an association, France Volontaires is the result of joint work by associations and the public sector involved in international solidarity.

It is a programme run by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs bringing together central government, local governments and associations around the same public service mission: the development and promotion of volunteering and solidarity around the world.

France Volontaires relies on a network of “Espaces Volontariats” working in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia. These resource centres provide information, guidance and support and put those involved in international volunteering in contact with one another (applicants, volunteers, host organizations and sending organizations, governments). France Volontaires also has offices in Ivry-sur-Seine, Lille, Nantes, New Caledonia, Marseille and Réunion.

The mission of France Volontaires

Consulting and advocacy

France Volontaires organizes dialogue between those involved in volunteering and helps define and implement public policies and multi-actor initiatives in the field of international volunteering.

Providing information and guidance

France Volontaires raises the awareness of public institutions, associations and the general public of French and European volunteer programmes via information and guidance, publications, digital tools and its participation in various events.

Making the most of volunteering

France Volontaires works on the recognition of volunteering and making the most of all the different types of volunteering around the world particularly so that it can be seen as part of the career of volunteers.

Building on new experience

France Volontaires analyses the dynamics of volunteering and rolls out specific programmes with the aim of building on new experience. Through its international network, the programme supports national volunteer and exchange programmes (hosting international volunteers in France).

Providing support and networking

France Volontaires offers expertise, training and capacity-building opportunities to its members in France and partners in France and around the world. Its Espaces Volontariats are springboards for action, support and networking for all those involved in volunteering in the countries where they are working in order to ensure that their volunteer experience is successful and enhance its impact.

French National Research Institute for Development (IRD)

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The French Research Institute for Development (IRD) is a public research institution working on international development challenges including improving health conditions, understanding the evolution of societies, and conserving the environment and natural resources.

Via its network and presence in some fifty countries, it takes an original approach to research, expertise, training, and knowledge-sharing to the benefit of countries and regions that make science and innovation key drivers in their development.

Based on a multidisciplinary approach, projects conducted jointly with its local partners address crucial issues in developing countries including tropical diseases and diseases of civilization, relationships between health and the environment, climate change, water resources, tropical and Mediterranean ecosystems, natural hazards, poverty, social inequalities and vulnerability, migration, changes in the labour market.

Science committed to a sustainable future

Scientific progress is necessary to further sustainable and human development: the IRD carries this conviction with it wherever it is present and wherever it works with its partners.

The IRD is a key French player working on the international development agenda. It works based on an original model: scientific partnership of equals with developing countries, primarily those in the inter-tropical regions and the Mediterranean area.

Only this model allows us to design solutions which are adapted to the challenges that humans and the planet are facing (such as pandemics, climate change and humanitarian and political crises) because the whole planet is facing these development challenges.

The pillars of our action for development

  • A scientific partnership of equals and co-publications with partners in developing countries;
  • Solutions which are adapted to global challenges and based on scientific evidence;
  • Public policies informed by scientific advances;
  • Citizens driving change;
  • Responsible innovations;
  • Specific expertise.

Updated: October 2022

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