Development assistance instruments


The FSPI, France’s flagship project aid instrument

The Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects (FSPI), supporting civil society, francophonie and human development, is the key instrument of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs for development assistance and soft power.

Projects can be promoted nationally or regionally, and enable embassies to carry out innovative, high-impact and high-visibility actions for the benefit of local people.

These projects, lasting 2 years at most, can each enjoy an amount of up to €1 million, under certain conditions. When completed, they have potential to be replicated on a larger scale by a local body or by other development stakeholders.
The 195 ongoing projects in 2020 (those approved under 2019 and 2020), spread across more than 70 eligible countries (see map), cover a very wide range of themes, including gender equality, health, education and training, development, francophonie and civil society support.

With a budget increased to €70 million in 2021, the new call for FSPI projects has been launched, with responses expected by mid-November 2020.
Implementation of selected projects could begin in the first half of 2021.

Characteristics of FSPI projects:
  • Local actors initiating and leading the project;
  • Project supporting human development (education, agriculture, health, etc.);
  • Swift disbursement and impact, with immediate benefits for local communities;
  • A foundational role opening the way for other development actors;
  • A final project evaluation by external experts.

For more information:

Loans and grants


France is one of the leading States in providing loans.
In middle-income countries, France focuses on loans, which it uses to leverage other financial contributions. It has developed a wide range of instruments with non-state actors, particularly the private sector, local government and civil society.

In 2019, loans represented 14% of France’s total ODA (€1.4 billion), ranking France second for loans (in volume) within the OECD DAC, behind Japan (45% of total ODA, or €6.9 billion) and ahead of Germany (5%, or €1.1 billion).


In 2019, France ranked fourth globally for grants, ahead of Japan. France’s bilateral grants increased by 20% between 2018 and 2019.

France’s official development assistance mainly consists of grants (81% of total bilateral and multilateral ODA in 2019). These are aimed primarily at 19 priority countries, all classified as least developed countries (LDCs), particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2018, the Interministerial Committee for International Co-operation and Development (CICID) decided to strengthen the grants component of France’s ODA, particularly through AFD project grants to priority countries. In 2019, the AFD received an extra €1 billion for project grants in France’s priority countries.
The share of grants in France’s total ODA rose from 77% in 2017 to 81% in 2018, and from 65% to 69% in bilateral ODA.

Updated: January 2021