AfDB/AfDF – African Development Bank and African Development Fund

The mandate of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Development Fund (AfDF) is to promote sustainable economic and social development in Africa by providing support for good governance and private sector development, infrastructure, higher education and vocational training. Switzerland has been supporting the AfDF since its foundation in 1972 and has been a member since 1982.

The AfDF is the concessional financing arm of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB). It promotes economic and social development through the provision of concessional loans and grants to 39 low income African countries. In addition, the AfDF delivers technical assistance, capacity-building activities and know-how. Since 2008, the AfDF has set aside specially earmarked funds for fragile states and regional operations.


The new ten-year strategy of the AfDB/AfDF, 2013–2022, comprises two main goals: Achieve more inclusive growth and moving towards green growth that leads to poverty reduction and increases the ecological sustainability of economic development.

To attain such “inclusive green growth”, five operational priorities have been set:

  1. Significantly increase investment in infrastructure
  2. Advance regional economic integration
  3. Facilitate private sector investment and support entrepreneurship
  4. Improve public governance by more inclusion and accountability
  5. Promote the skills of the workforce, especially by better training for young people

Results of private sector development

Supporting small-scale businesses and entrepreneurship is an effective approach to fight poverty and achieve inclusive growth. From 2010 to 2012, the AfDB/AfDF supported the creation of almost 75,000 micro-enterprises and provided business management training to almost 400,000 microfinance clients.

Switzerland’s commitment

Switzerland’s priorities

Through its participation in the various bodies (Board of Governors and Board of Executive Directors), Switzerland monitors and influences how the bank implements its strategy to fight poverty with concrete measures and measurable results. This includes assuring that the institution puts more emphasis on monitoring programmes it is supporting and on quality assurance.

Due to the close working relationship within Switzerland’s constituency with Germany and Portugal, several common objectives have been defined.

Switzerland focuses on the following in particular:

  • Fragile states
  • Development effectiveness and management for results
  • Gender equality
  • Climate change and green growth
  • Poverty and the development

By focusing on these specific issues, Switzerland achieves a clear profile based on its competences. This strengthens its influence and enables it to contribute to improving transparency and predictability in AfDB/AfDF operations.

Results of gender equality in development

With specific comments to the evaluation on “Mainstreaming Gender Equality” and to the review of the Bank’s Gender Plan of Action, Switzerland contributed to the elaboration of a new AfDB gender strategy (2013-2016). Owing to the insistence of Switzerland among others, a new special envoy for gender was employed in November 2013.


The AfDB/AfDF is committed to further strengthening its effectiveness by increasing delivery efficiency and investments in staff. In addition, the AfDB is constantly improving its focus on development results. During 2013–2014, a particular challenge will be the planned return of the Bank from Tunis to its headquarters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Additional information