THE VISIT OF JEAN-MICHEL SEVERINO, THE DIRECTOR OF THE AFD

AGENCE FRANCAISE DE DEVELOPPEMENT CEO COMMITS BILLIONS TO SA

Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD and Proparco), the French arm for international cooperation, announced its latest capital commitments to South Africa (Rands 3.5 billion). These funds aim to fulfill AFD’s activities for facilitating economic growth in South Africa and improving the quality of life for historically disadvantaged individuals (HDI).
This new investment is indicative of the AFD’s financial assistance to developing and emerging countries. In 2008, AFD committed worldwide nearly €4.5 billion (R50 billion) to more than 60 developing countries in Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, South America, and the French Overseas Territories.
AFD CEO, Jean-Michel Severino elaborated more on the funding commitments in SA during his visits to Cape Town and Johannesburg on November 23rd to 27th, 2009. These involved signing of agreements between AFD and Transnet, the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the National Housing Finance Corporation, and the Central Energy Fund. Severino also visited the Airports Company of SA, (ACSA) whom AFD has accompanied in its investment program, notably for the extension of OR Tambo, and Capitec that has benefited from Proparco’s support. This reflected the diversity of AFD’s developmental approach and its innovative vision of the role of a Development Financing Institution in today’s world. On this precise topic, he gave an address at the Senate Hall of the University of Pretoria on the 25th November : “The end of ODA : Death and rebirth of a global public policy “.
“In order to achieve sustainable and more shared growth in SA and to address the inequalities that continue to divide the rich from the poor, AFD has identified areas where our funding can play an incentive role,” explains Severino. “Our first port of call will be to finance large production infrastructures to promote regional economic development in a sustainable way. We believe the investment in funding for the development of sectors such as energy, telecommunications and transport will play a vital role in streamlining growth. “In the same vein, our continuous support for the regional financial sector will help to develop these institutions at both an African and a global level. We believe that through an intervention such as this, more previously excluded people are able to have access to banking services. “
“At a grassroots level, AFD will continue its support to municipalities by providing finance for municipal infrastructure and access to essential services for more South Africans.”
AFD is a bi-lateral development finance institution that works on behalf of the French government. Since 1994 it has been operating in South Africa with the primary objective of supporting public policies to sustain the country’s most deprived population groups. AFD’s strategy is in line with the Partnership Framework Document which was jointly developed by France and SA in 2006. AFD implements various developmental components on behalf of the French government in an intervention program, the Country Partnership Strategy for the 2008-2011 period. This strategy is based on improving access to services for the HDI population, supporting the productive sector for accelerated and redistributed growth, and preserving global public goods.
The AFD office in Johannesburg has a regional mandate, which, in addition to South Africa, covers Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Lesotho.
“In show of our commitment to local and regional development, AFD in Johannesburg finances more than thirty projects. Our activities have also multiplied between 2004 and 2008 to cope with the need to finance projects for development in the region,” explains Severino. The structure of aid granted by France to SA is characterised by a relatively low level of subsidies and the non-sovereign status of AFD’s borrowers.
“AFD’s wishes to accompany SA in its natural role of contributing to the development of the African continent” says Severino. The main objectives of AFD in Sub-Saharan African are to support growth in order to reduce poverty and to contribute to the creation of a favorable environment for development.
“Even though Sub-Saharan Africa faces many challenges, we believe there is hope. The region’s abundance of natural resources and its versatile markets in the age of globalization will enable sustained growth in the years ahead,” ends Severino.

AFD is a public establishment that has been combating poverty, promoting development and protecting the environment for over sixty years. AFD’s mandate for economic growth and the preservation of the environment falls directly within the framework of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals which seeks to reduce global poverty by half by 2015. AFD supports projects that improve living conditions, contribute to economic growth and protect the planet: getting children into school, supporting farmers, supporting small businesses, water supply, preservation of tropical rainforests, combating climate change. For more information visit:www.afd.fr or www.afd-afriquedusud.org
1.AFD uses a wide range of financial instruments to underwrite its activities. These include grants, subsidies, guarantees, loans, equity shareholdings, co-financing and local bank intermediation.

VIEW DETAILED INFORMATION ON THE FUNDING AGREEMENTS EXECUTED BY MR. SEVERINO DURING HIS VISIT:

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AFD and Transnet - Final
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CEF - final
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DBSA - final
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Desmond Tutu Foundation - final
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GCR Proparco press release - final
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NHFC - final
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publie le 10/12/2009

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