Development policy: France’s strategy

France’s development policy follows the framework established by the international community, particularly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda was adopted in September 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development. It is also part of the 2017 European Consensus on Development.

The main objectives of France’s development policy are defined in a law passed in 2014 (in French, Act no. 2014-773 on guidelines and programming regarding development policy and international solidarity (LOP-DSI) of 7 July 2014). They are reviewed and redefined by the Committee on International Cooperation and Development (CICID), chaired by the Prime Minister and that brings together the Ministers across the different Ministries who deal with international solidarity.

New guidelines were set out by the CICID in 2018, reaffirming the main objectives of the French development policy :

  • poverty eradication
  • implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • enactment of the Paris Climate Agreement
  • protection of global common goods

It set out five priorities that contribute to inequality in the world : international stability ; climate ; education ; gender equality and health.

It also stated that 0.55% of gross national income (GNI) would be allocated to official development assistance (ODA) by 2022. This would be achieved through an increase in donations and bilateral assistance, as well as benefitting more civil society and humanitarian organizations.

On the whole, Africa will be the main beneficiary of these efforts, with 19 priority countries, all classed as Least Developed Countries.

In 2017, France’s ODA reached €10.1 billion, or 0.43% of GNI. France was the fifth-largest OECD donor though the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), well above the average (0.31%). Africa, and in particular sub-Saharan Africa, is at the heart of France’s development policy, accounting for 41% of the French aid.

In 2017, the French President set out a new ambition for France’s development policy, and a new law on development will be presented to Parliament in 2019.

Since 2014, France’s official development assistance (ODA) has grown significantly. In 2018, France was the fifth-largest OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor (preliminary data from the OECD DAC).

In 2017 (the latest confirmed figures), France’s ODA stood at €10.1 billion, or 0.43% of gross national income (GNI), which is much higher than the DAC average (0.31%). France’s ODA posted the highest increase (+16%) among DAC donors between 2016 and 2017. In 2017, only five DAC countries met the UN target to devote 0.7% of GNI to ODA. France ranks tenth among donors in terms of GNI percentage.

In 2018, French preliminary ODA (preliminary figures published by the OECD in April 2019) reached €10.3 billion. This was an increase of 2.5% compared with 2017 (up €250 million) under the new loans system set by the OECD DAC, and an increase of 5% under the previous system. France maintains its rank of fifth in the world among DAC donors. French ODA reached 0.43% of national GNI, a figure which is stable compared to last year.

Africa is a priority for the French development policy : in 2017, it received 41% of French bilateral and multilateral funds (€4.1 billion), two-thirds of which (€3 billion) went to sub-Saharan Africa.

France’s ODA mainly consists of grants (77% of total net ODA in 2017). Loans account for 23% of our overall ODA, ranking France second among OECD DAC loan providers, behind Japan and ahead of Germany.

Out of the 20 main recipient countries of total ODA, Ethiopia, Senegal, Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso and Chad were the six priority countries for France in terms of grants in 2017. The largest recipients of bilateral and multilateral French assistance were Turkey (7% of ODA, €677 million), Morocco (4%, €434 million) and Iraq (4%, €419 million).

Updated : December 2019