Report on French official development assistance figures for 2021


En 2017, les engagements français en matière d’aide publique au développement (APD) dépassaient pour la première fois le seuil des 10 milliards d’euros. En hausse constante, ils ont atteint en 2021, 13,1 milliards d’euros en équivalent-don (0,51% du revenu national brut, RNB).

What is official development assistance?

Official development assistance (ODA) is defined by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as those flows which are concessional in character and provided by official agencies to eligible countries and territories or multilateral development institutions, with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as their main objective. The DAC revises the List of ODA Recipients every three years. It is mainly comprised of criteria linked to countries’ level of wealth (GNI per capita) and includes the category of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as defined by the United Nations.

Distribution of French ODA in 2021

In line with the Programming Act of 4 August 2021 on inclusive development and the fight against global inequalities, the 2023 Finance Act projects French ODA at €15.1 billion for 2022 (0.56% of gross national income (GNI)), placing France among the leading donor nations (4th position).

Of the payments made in 2021, (most recent figures available),

  • almost 30% (€3.83 billion) comes from financing implemented by the Agence française de développement (AFD);
  • the two Ministries responsible for leading France’s development policy (the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty) represent a comparable amount of annual ODA;
  • France also contributes to the European Union development budget, which accounts for some 14.8% (€1.95 billion) of reported French ODA in 2021.

Other French institutions are also sources of French ODA:

  • The Interior Ministry (€915 million, 6.9% of the total), mainly by covering the costs of hosting refugees;
  • Proparco (€907.9 million, 6.9%);
  • The Ministry of National Education (€809 million, 6.1%).

Priorities of French ODA in 2021

France’s action follows the five main priorities set out by the Interministerial Committee on International Cooperation and Development (CICID) of 8 February 2018:

  • climate and the environment (€4.48 billion),
  • gender equality (€3.79 billion),
  • education (€1.27 billion),
  • healthcare (€947.1 million),
  • crises and fragilities (€101.2 million).

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a huge increase in ODA healthcare payments, climbing from an average of €155 million in the 2016-2018 period to an average of €764 million in the 2019-2021 period.

French ODA in 2021 by sector (millions of €, gross payments)

Geographical distribution

At regional level, in 2021 West Africa accounted for the largest share of French ODA (€1.38 billion), ahead of South America (€1.15 billion) and North Africa (€1.11 billion).

At national level, Brazil and Morocco are the largest recipient countries of French ODA, with about €505 million each, ahead of Colombia (€385 million), Mexico (€350 million) and Côte d’Ivoire (€305 million). The 19 priority countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, DRC, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo) received €1.14 billion from French ODA, or 7% of total payments.

The 10 sub-regions receiving the most French ODA in 2021 (in millions of euro, gross payments)

Bilateral assistance, a major French development tool

Preliminary data for 2022 shows that French bilateral assistance reached €9.1 billion, or 60% of the total, while multilateral assistance accounted for €6 billion (40% of the total), i.e. a distribution between bilateral and multilateral channels comparable to that observed in 2021.

In 2021, grants accounted for the vast majority of France’s total ODA volume (77.8% of the total amount in grant equivalent), while loans represented 20.3%, with this significant share a specific feature of French assistance. The share of grants increased by almost 6% compared to 2020 but remained lower than the level reached in 2019 (80.8%). France’s multilateral ODA is almost entirely (97.5% in 2021) made up of grants and/or contributions to the budgets of international organizations. For example, France plans to donate €1.55 billion to the Green Climate Fund in the 2019-2023 period. It is also committed to help fund the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA). Between 2023 and 2025, it will contribute some €1.45 billion.

Updated: May 2023