French bilateral aid

Bilateral aid allocation strategy

The bilateral mechanism is an essential part of French cooperation: 65% of France’s total Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2011. It allows us to focus on France’s geographical and sectoral priorities and to enhance actors’ expertise in sectors where French know-how is recognized.

France has four priority partnerships, which differ according to the types of country, issues and forms of action:

16 priority countries suffering from poverty (PPPs)

In these 16 countries, France focuses its efforts on solidarity grants. It mobilizes its bilateral and multilateral instruments to help meet all of its development policy objectives, including:

  • The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),
  • economic development,
  • democratic governance and rule of law,
  • Preservation of environmental capital.

To meet these objectives, the French government has decided to allocate at least half of State grants and two-thirds of French Agency for Development (AFD) grants to PPPs.List of PPPs:Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo.

Sub-Saharan Africa and countries in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean

In these countries, France allocates at least 85% of the State’s financial efforts for development.

Sub-Saharan African countries remain France’s main priority. France acts in all appropriate sectors and uses the full range of instruments at its disposal to meet the countries’ needs in a suitable and differentiated manner: donations, budgetary aid, subsidized and unsubsidized loans, sovereign and non-sovereign loans, equity investments, guarantees and other innovative financing.

In countries in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, the development policy mainly focuses on modernizing production facilities, job creation and regional development with a view to sustainability, mutually beneficial development and co-sourcing. Since most are middle-income countries, State financial aid will preferably be in the form of loans, with additional help in the areas of culture, science and technology and training.

Countries experiencing or emerging from crises or in fragile situations

Countries experiencing crises, which are not among the PPPs, receive special help. France is working in these countries to meet their needs in terms of human development, strengthening the rule of law and economic development. Flexible instruments are used, mainly grants.

The rest of the world (particularly Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean)

In these countries, most of which are high-growth, middle-income countries or emerging countries, France is working to promote green and inclusive growth and to encourage economic partnerships. In this area, cooperation with the "major emerging economies" mobilizes French actors at no financial cost to the State (except technical expertise).

Amount of bilateral ODA

In 2012, France was the world’s fourth-largest contributor to ODA, behind the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom and ahead of Japan.

France provides 10% of global ODA, despite its economy only accounting for 4% of the world’s GDP.

The international target of ODA equivalent to 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) by 2015 has not been met by France, whose rate of 0.45% of GNI is nonetheless above the global average of 0.31%. At the close of the National Conference on Development and International Solidarity in March 2013, the French President reiterated France’s commitment to put French ODA back on track to meet this target once growth picks up.

Breakdown of bilateral official development assistance

French bilateral ODA comprises five different types of support:

Project funding is the most common tool of development policy. It accounts for 37% of bilateral ODA. The main operator, the French Agency for Development (AFD), implements almost 80% of these projects;

Technical assistance makes up 16% of bilateral ODA. It involves providing know-how in the form of staff, training and research activities;

Debt relief comprised 15% of bilateral ODA in 2011 and allows recipient countries to free up resources to finance their development;

Budgetary aid represented just 7% of bilateral ODA in 2011. It increases the general budget of recipient States;

The remaining 25% is made up of a wide variety of funding deemed to assist development (hosting foreign students from developing countries in France, taking in refugees, humanitarian and food aid, support for research institutes and NGOs, etc.).

Partnership framework papers (DCPs)

Partnership framework papers are a geographical management tool for French development assistance. In agreement with the relevant countries, they allow us to set the multi-year trends of our bilateral aid.

Partnership framework papers explain the work of all French public assistance actors in the country concerned, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, the French Agency for Development (AFD), research bodies, cultural and learning institutions, as well as local government.

Complementary work between France and its bilateral and multilateral partners, particularly the European Commission and European Union Member States, is sought through exchanges and a common diagnostic.

The renewed French cooperation framework, changes in resources allocated to implementing cooperation strategies as well as the lessons learnt from the first series of partnership framework papers enabled several areas for development to be identified.

The new partnership framework papers are now first and foremost allocated to French development policy’s priority countries suffering from poverty, which receive the most concessional financing. The strategic nature of the documents is strengthened: they put into perspective the cooperation relationship between France and the country concerned within the broader framework of bilateral relations, they place the cooperation relationship in a context of sustainable development and focus on results.

Updated : 23.12.13