French bilateral assistance


Bilateral assistance is a crucial part of French development policy, accounting for 60% of France’s overall official development (ODA) assistance (€5.9 billion) in 2017.

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 it development policy to the different types of countries and development challenges with tailored partnerships:

19 priority countries

France focuses its solidarity funding on 19 priority countries, all of which are least developed countries (LDCs). It uses it bilateral and multilateral instruments to achieve its development policy goals. It concentrates its action on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement, giving special attention to Africa.

As a priority it has committed to:

  • dealing with situations of fragility and ensuring peace and stability;
  • supporting the major cause of the President’s term which is gender equality:
  • boosting efforts for education and vocational training;
  • tackling climate change and biodiversity;
  • maintaining resolute action to improve healthcare.

To achieve these goals, the Government has decided to allocate at least half of government funds and two-thirds of the Agence Française de Développement funding (AFD) to priority countries.

List of priority countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

Nearly 60% of French bilateral assistance is implemented by the AFD.

The geographical breakdown of bilateral ODA

Africa is a priority of French development assistance. It receives 36% of France’s bilateral assistance (€2.1 billion), two-thirds of which (€1.4 billion) is allocated to sub-Saharan Africa.

The types of bilateral assistance

France’s bilateral assistance is mainly made up of project aid (37% in 2017). Budget support accounts for 16% of bilateral ODA.

Updated: April 2019