Principles of French official development assistance

Effectiveness

France has been committed to aid effectiveness since the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey (2002) and helped to define the principles for effectiveness during the High Level Forums on Aid Effectiveness held in Rome (2003), Paris (2005), Accra (2008) and Busan (2011), promoting in particular:

  • streamlining of the architecture of multilateral assistance;
  • recognition of the diversity of our partners’ situations, especially fragile ones;
  • improved measurement of aid results.

Transparency and accountability

In addition, France promotes greater transparency and accountability with regard to its development assistance. Aid transparency is crucial not only to the understanding and legitimacy of development cooperation policies, but also to aid effectiveness. Transparency requires detailed and regularly updated information to be made public regarding ongoing projects and aid forecasts from donors in each of their partner countries. In France, this information is provided on the website on France’s development assistance, aid transparency, launched in 2014 by the Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, which details the projects carried out by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French Development Agency (AFD) in the 16 key developing countries.

The information can be accessed and reused using the link to the single government portal, www.data.gouv.fr, where they are published in accordance with “open data” standards and meet the standards of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).

As part of the “Open Government Partnership” (OGP) national action plan 2015-2017, France committed to progressively opening the data for the Africa region in 2015 and the Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean regions in 2016. This work is ongoing.

By the end of 2016, the website detailed approximately 900 projects, including over 80% of AFD projects in some 31 countries.

Coherence

Not only development assistance policies, but all economic and social policies of donor countries have a significant impact on developing countries.

Thus, however complex it may be, the task of actively seeking to create synergies and reconciling conflicting goals is promoted with regard to both the content of policies, including those of partner countries, and the institutional means of implementing them. Since 1998, it has been explicit that French policy coherence falls within the remit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is “consulted on government intervention and any decisions that may affect the development of the countries concerned”.

Outcomes

Accountability is the process by which France explains to its citizens the way in which Official Development Assistance (ODA) funds are used and the outcomes of the activities implemented as a result.

France has extended and improved its accountability practices in recent years with the publication, in 2012, of the first biennial report to Parliament on the implementation of the French strategy for development cooperation and the creation of a grid of 30 results indicators. The third biannual report to the French Parliament for 2014-2015 is currently being written. It will be available in late December 2016.

France focuses its efforts on 16 African countries that are considered as priorities:

Updated: November 2016

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