Amid differences, forging a successful partnership

Philippe Orliange, director of partnerships for the French Development Agency, talks with Devex about France's partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and shares insights into what AFD looks for in a partner.

What’s the secret to building a successful partnership between two institutions operating under different financing models?

The French Development Agency and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have a long history of working together as partners for development. But while the Gates Foundation provides grants, the French Development Agency — known by its French acronym AFD — operates more like a bank, issuing loans to borrowers.

AFD and the Gates Foundation have been hesitant to co-finance development projects, working together largely by co-organizing events, such as a maternal health and family planning conference, and collaborating on joint studies.

But earlier this year, the two organizations announced a dual initiative to improve vaccination and immunization programs in the Sahel region of Africa — a 100 million euro ($113.2 million) initiative spanning 2016 to 2020. AFD has committed to making a long-term loan to the public-private global health partnership known as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. And the Gates Foundation has agreed to repay the obligation on the loan through grant money.

Devex caught up with Philippe Orliange, AFD’s director of partnerships, on the sidelines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Global Forum on Development in Paris last month.

Watch the clip above to know more about AFD’s relationship with the Gates Foundation, and what characteristics the French agency looks for in a partner institution.

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About the author

  • Jeff tyson 400x400  1

    Jeff Tyson

    Jeff is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Washington, DC, he covers multilateral affairs, U.S. aid and international development trends. He has worked with human rights organizations in both Senegal and the United States, and prior to joining Devex worked as a production assistant at National Public Radio. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from the University of Rochester.