French development policy is highly interministerial. It involves 24 budget programmes, including the two programmes which are part of the “Official development assistance” mission and which are central to the policy:
- Programme 110, “Economic and financial development assistance” managed by the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery;
- and Programme 209 “Solidarity with developing countries” managed by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
It is also supported by extrabudgetary resources: the Social Development Fund (FSD) is made up of resources levied from industries that benefit from globalization (for example, a percentage of the revenues from the financial transaction tax [TTF] and the solidarity levy on airline tickets [TSBA]). The FSD finances a series of contributions to multilateral funds in the fields of health, climate and education. In 2019, a portion of the TTF that was previously directly allocated to the Agence française de développement (AFD) was rebudgeted for ODA purposes.
ODA credits, for execution or programming, are presented each year in detail in annexes to finance bills. The execution and programming of FSD expenditure are published and updated twice annually in the Annual Performance Report (RAP) and in the Cross-cutting Policy Document (DPT).
In 2019 (the most recent year for which the final OECD ODA data are available), the breakdown of ODA by budget channel is as follows:
- assistance financed by the “official development assistance” mission (programmes 110 and 209) represented almost half (€4.8 billion in ODA, or 44% of total ODA), with a percentage of grants (€2.8 billion) higher than that of loans and shareholdings (€2 billion). Loans and grants are both bilateral and multilateral. The loans are calculated equivalent to the ODA that they produce,
- ODA financed by the FSD represents €0.7 billion, or 7% of total French assistance. Only the amounts that can be calculated in ODA, meaning those already disbursed by France, are taken into account,
- The other budget programmes of the State and its agencies represent €3 million, or 28%. In particular, they include school fees in France for students from developing countries, the costs of hosting refugees from these same countries, and research projects on development, particularly those conducted by the Research Institute for Development (IRD) and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD),
- Treasury loans representing €80 million, or 1%,
- the proportion of French contribution to the budget of the European Union financing European ODA amounts to €1.5 billion, or 13%. This, like all of France’s contribution to the EU budget, is taken from revenues in the state budget,
- debt treatments, including debt reduction contracts, contribute €0.4 billion to ODA, or 4%,
A final expenditure category, totalling €0.5 billion, is outside the state budget. This corresponds to the ODA produced by local governments and ODA administrative overheads (€350 million).
The commitment made by the President of the Republic to renew the ambition of France’s development policy in 2017 resulted in an increase in the resources allocated to official development assistance (ODA). French ODA exceeded €10 billion for the first time in 2017, reaching €10.3 billion in 2018 (0.43% of gross national income), €10.9 billion in 2019 (0.44% of GNI), and €12.4 billion in 2020 (0.53% of GNI), its highest ever.
France is the fifth-largest OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor (data from the OECD DAC).
French ODA is mainly bilateral. In accordance with the conclusions of the Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID) meeting of February 2018, the bilateral share of France’s ODA has increased, rising from 55% of total ODA (€5.7 billion) to 64% in 2020 (€8 billion).
France’s ODA mainly consists of grants, which made up 72% of total bilateral and multilateral financing in 2020 (€8.9 billion). France’s bilateral grants rose by 2% between 2019 and 2020, in accordance with the conclusions of the Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID) meeting of February 2018, which committed to strengthening bilateral ODA in grant form, to more effectively target the most vulnerable countries.
This has been made possible through a significant increase in AFD project grants for projects in priority countries; an increase in project assistance under the Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects (FSPI) implemented by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and a doubling of funding allocated to civil society organizations between 2017 and 2022.
40% of France’s ODA, equivalent to €4.8 billion in 2019 (latest definitive data approved by the OECD), is aimed at five priority areas of development policy set out by the CICID:
- gender equality,
- climate and the environment,
In 2019, Africa received 39% of French ODA (€3.6 billion), more than 80% of which was allocated to sub-Saharan Africa (€2.9 billion). African countries are also the main recipients of French grants: Senegal, Chad and Mali, which are part of the list of priority countries in France’s development policy, were in the top 10 recipient countries of grants in 2019. North African and Mediterranean countries received more than 13% of total French grants.
The 19 priority countries of French development policy received €1.6 billion in French ODA in 2019: the leading recipient was Senegal (€281 million), followed by Ethiopia (€158 million), Mali (€145 million) and Burkina Faso (€137 million).
Updated: March 2021