Contours of France's new development bill show consistent focus areas, increased grant funding, independent evaluation committee

France held its first parliamentary debate on the new 'Program and Orientation Bill on Solidarity Development and the Fight against Global Inequalities', which is slated to replace France's 2014 Development Bill. Secretary of State for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, confirmed that the law will be discussed during the forthcoming Minister Council on March 4, 2020, and will be debated in parliament at the end of the first semester of 2020.

Lemoyne indicated that the bill will provide a financial roadmap to increase French development assistance to 0.55% of gross national income (GNI) by 2022, an increase of 6.0 billion (US$6.6 billion) over 2017 levels.

During 2020-2022, the period covered by the law, France's sectoral priorities (climate change and biodiversity; gender equality; education; and global health) will remain unchanged, and it will also maintain its 19 geographical priority areas (which are comprised of 18 Sub-Saharan countries and Haiti).

The proportion of grants will drastically increase compared to loans during this period, mobilizing 1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion) for the French Development Agency’s grants in the coming years. Funding for global health has already increased, reaching 1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion) in 2018, Lemoyne said, 80% of which is allocated through multilateral channels. The law will include a global partnership framework, to detail the ways France will partner with low-income countries and development stakeholders.

France aims to facilitate better coordination and accountability for its development assistance; the formation of an independent evaluation committee attached to the French court of audits is one notable provision of the bill.

Regarding the new European Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), France is currently discussing with the EU's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) to ensure credits of the European Neighborhood and Development are kept separate to avoid confusion. 

Debate protocol - French National Assembly (in French)