Bilateral official development assistance (ODA), paid directly to developing countries, plays an essential role in French development policy, representing 61% (€6.6 billion) of France’s total assistance in 2019.
The bilateral channel enables France to target its geographical and sectoral priorities and make the most of the knowledge of those working in sectors in which French expertise is recognized. France adapts its policy to the different types of countries and development challenges.
Bilateral action is largely implemented by the government’s agencies, and particularly the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). The AFD offers both grants and soft loans. Through its Proparco subsidiary and the Investment and Support Fund for Businesses in Africa (FISEA), it also provides loans and guarantees, as well as making equity investments to support the private sector in developing countries. The other government agencies contributing to French ODA include Expertise France, the Research Institute for Development (IRD) the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), Canal France International and the Pasteur Institute.
African countries are the leading recipients of French bilateral assistance, totalling 40% (€2.7 billion), including 29% for sub-Saharan Africa (€2 billion).
France’s bilateral assistance is mostly made up of project assistance (37% in 2019, or €2.5 billion), budget assistance (15%, or €1 billion), and technical assistance (8%, or €560 million).
Updated: January 2021