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The AFD Group applies progressive approach in gender equality & women’s economic empowerment

By Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Group

In conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 8, 2019, AFI is publishing a series of blog posts throughout the week including contributions from our donors and private sector partners. Join us in embracing innovative ways to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

Since 2013, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Group has developed a strategy to reduce gender inequalities across all sectors around the globe. An active partner of AFI, the AFD Group defines itself as a "100% Social Link" agency in the Strategic Plan 2018-2022.

At the AFD Group, we are committed to strengthening equality between men and women, and access to basic financial education. With the aim to increase funding for projects that contribute to gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, we are focused on achieving these global objectives:

  • 50 percent of volume transactions must have a specific gender target by 2022 in all of our areas of action (education, health, water, energy, transportation, climate, governance, justice, etc.)
  • 100 percent of the projects must be analyzed in terms of gender inequalities (mainstreaming approach)

Based on the Strategic Plan 2018-2022 for financial systems, the AFD Group mainly intervenes through financial inclusion and credit lines to financial institutions. We currently finance 25 microfinance institutions in Africa through grants, debt and equity support, representing a clientele of nearly four million beneficiaries — of whom, more than 70 percent are women.

To further advance gender equality, the AFD Group established a systematic dialogue with partners to develop a progressive approach in addressing potential gender issues (from a commitment to communicate on CSR policy, or integrate gender-specific indicators to a dedicated approach in reducing gender inequalities, a main objective of the project).

A dedicated approach allows us to better support the financial sector in implementing proactive policies and activities on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. For example:

  • In collaboration with the Industrial Development Bank of Turkey, we diagnosed the gender equality at workplace within the bank and its beneficiaries, and followed up with a gender action plan
  • In Egypt, together with the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, we made a credit line available to support women's entrepreneurship. We also provided technical assistance in the form of grants to support the implementation of activities aimed at the development of tailored and diversified financial services for women-owned MSMEs
  • In partnership with a pool of private banks in Mauritius, we implemented financial incentives for the banks and their beneficiaries to adopt a gender policy

A key partner of AFI, the AFD Group has been instrumental in their support for scaling up digital finance in Africa and beyond. Learn more about interoperability and cross-border remittances in Africa.


  1. At the factory of gender equality:
  2. Sexual harassment on public transport in Egypt: