AFD and the Gates Foundation: Collaborating to advance gender equity and improve development outcomes

AFD and the Gates Foundation
Photo credit: Eric Thauvin

Building on a longstanding partnership

Our foundation has collaborated with AFD on global health and development projects since 2011. This led to a memorandum of understanding in 2016 to work together on a range of issues and across a number of regions, including collaborating on maternal, newborn, child nutrition & health and water and sanitation in West Africa.

Building on this shared experience and recognizing our complementary strengths, AFD and the foundation signed a letter in January 2023 outlining a more systematic partnership to increase the reach and impact of both organizations by co-financing specific initiatives.

Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are deeply interconnected. Partnerships have the potential to significantly advance progress toward multiple SDGs by directing combined expertise, experience, and funding toward issues including health, gender equality, economic development, and climate resilience access to water and more.

Our collaboration with AFD involves a joint funding mechanism that invests in projects that align with country priorities and helps build capacity among our partners while generating measurable, sustainable impact. By mobilizing a wide range of financial instruments and modalities, our multi-year partnership framework seeks to identify shared priorities and co-programming opportunities and allow for scaled-up, jointly funded and jointly implemented strategies.

Key areas of action

The partnership is initially focusing on gender-related issues, sexual and reproductive health and rights (including family planning), maternal and child health, nutrition, social protection, water and sanitation, and human development (including climate resilience) in alignment with relevant national country strategies.

Our joint investments will aim to:

  • Support health system strengthening, with a focus on women and youth
  • Reimagine and strengthen gender-intentional reproductive, maternal and child health, and nutrition services through existing social protection programs
  • Support countries in implementing and expanding gender-intentional projects that integrate post-partum family planning; reproductive, maternal, and child health; and nutrition, in alignment with national action plans for integrated services
  • Develop health and social protection interventions as part of a climate adaptation agenda
  • Promote young women’s leadership development
  • Develop gender-sensitive water and sanitation initiatives

The scope of the collaboration will expand to include other related areas, which may include:

  • Digital inclusion, including digital banking, digital public goods, and digital health tools
  • Sanitation solutions, including citywide inclusive sanitation approaches
  • Climate adaptation

Priority regions

Our initial focus regions include:

  • Francophone West Africa, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo
  • East Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Uganda
  • Central Africa, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • South Asia, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan

“Accelerating collective action is necessary to remain on track toward achieving the SDGs. This new partnership builds on a firm and long-lasting relationship with the Agence Française de Développement. Together, we can drive new ways to scale activities and maximize local impact, ensuring sustainable solutions in the fields of health, gender, and beyond reach as many people as possible, as soon as possible.”

- Mark Suzman, Chief Executive Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“I am pleased to see how both our institutions have built on their collaboration over the past 10 years. And that now, in an exacerbated crisis context, they are ready to scale up their activities based on a new a joint programming and multiannual approach, mobilizing a wider range of financial instruments to boost SDG investment and develop impactful projects with an initial focus on gender equality and health systems strengthening in a wider geographic perimeter across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.”

- Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer, French Development Agency