FRANCE - OUTLOOK
France’s indicative development assistance budgetshows only a slight growth to 0.48% of GNI in 2015 and thus France will almost certainly miss the 0.7% ODA target by 2015. Debt relief (estimated at €1.2 billion or US$1.7 billion in 2015) is likely to account for an important share of French ODA. At the conclusion of the National Conference on Development and International Solidarity, the French President pledged to raise ODA to the 0.7% target “when growth comes back”.
Public support for development assistance remains strong. In July 2011, the French government commissioned a public opinion poll on France’s ODA, which showed that even in a constrained economic setting, a large majority of the French public (63%) is in favor of continuing ODA, despite the budget difficulties experienced in France. 35% still consider the French ODA budget too low.
With regard to France’s ODA channels, there is a chance of bilateral assistance increasing at the expense of multilateral funding. Advocacy by parliamentarians and civil society in that respect has been taken seriously by the French government: since 2012, multilateral funding to the EU institutions has been revised down due to a decrease in France’s share to the European Development Fund (EDF), down from 24% or US$1.2 billion in the 9th EDF to 20% or US$953.9 for the 10th EDF. France is now the second largest contributor after Germany and both Finance Minister Moscovici and Development Minister Canfin are very supportive of channeling ODA via the EU institutions. In 2012, the EDF requested US$36 million less from France than was budgeted; 46% of the amount that was not transferred to the EDF (US$36 million) was reallocated to various development organizations. The remaining US$19 million benefit AFD and are partly carried over to the 2013 budget year (US$8 million). According to the EU Commission’s proposal, France’s contributions to the 11th EDF (2014—2020) would increase by US$189 million per year. While Finance Minister Moscovici requested that the EU maintain current development spending, the Senate has been very skeptical of an increasing EDF budget, also in view of the EDF’s past difficulties in disbursing all committed funds.
Concerning geographic focus, it remains to be seen whether France will live up to its commitment to allocating 60% of its bilateral assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2011 and subsequent years, the volume of health ODA will increase mainly due to the presidential multi-year commitments to the Global Fund (a 20% increase in French contribution) announced at the 2010 UN Summit, and to the health of women and children (€100 million or US$132.5 million per year over the period 2011—2015), announced at the 2010 G8 Summit in Muskoka. Both of these commitments are scheduled in the 2013 budget bill. In addition, €60 million of the €360 million annual commitment to the Global Fund (2011—2013) will be funded by extra-budgetary revenue from the solidarity airline tax rather than through multilateral budget lines.
the France profile