Issue Deep Dive

France / Global Health

Last updated: November 13, 2023

ODA Spending

How much ODA does France allocate to global health?

France’s total ODA to health in 2021 was US$2 billion, making it the fifth-largest DAC donor to the sector in absolute terms. This represents 10% of France’s total ODA in that year. While France’s health ODA has almost doubled compared to 2020 spending, France ranks only 22nd among DAC donors in its relative prioritization of health within overall ODA. This is largely due to the significant rise of health ODA globally during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How is French global health ODA changing?

France’s ODA for global health has increased over the past five years in both absolute and relative terms. However, its relative share of 10% of France’s total ODA in 2021 remains below the DAC average of 15%.

How does France allocate global health ODA?

Bilateral Spending

Bilateral health spending saw the largest rise in 2021, more than doubling compared to 2020. 56% (US$1.1 billion) of France’s ODA for health in 2021 was provided bilaterally, including 3% in earmarked funding through multilaterals. The largest share of this funding was allocated to ‘COVID-19 control’ (62%), followed by ‘health policy and administrative management’ (8%), and ‘basic health care’ (8%).

Multilateral Spending and Commitments

The remaining 44% (US$883 million) was channeled through multilateral organizations, above the DAC average of 30%. This funding was primarily channeled through the Global Fund, Gavi, EU Institutions, and the International Development Association of the World Bank.

Health is a key area of France’s multilateral engagement despite efforts to increase the proportion of bilateral spending. While it remains above the DAC average of 30% and multilateral health ODA increased in absolute terms compared to 2020, it has continuously decreased as a share of overall health ODA from a high of 78% in 2017.

Recently, France boosted its financial contributions to several multilateral health organizations, notably pledging EUR1.6 billion ( US$1.6 billion) for 2023-2025 at the seventh Global Fund replenishment in September 2022, a 23% increase from its previous contribution. 20% of this funding will be channeled to L’initiative, a bilateral instrument managed by Expertise France to provide technical expertise for France’s priority countries. In September 2022, the President also announced EUR255 million ( US$269 million) to UNITAID for 2023-2025 to reduce treatment costs. France has doubled its contribution to the WHO since the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting a stronger WHO as the principal coordinating health body. It also hosts the Lyon-based WHO academy to train healthcare professionals, illustrating France’s focus on human resources in health, in addition to primary health care.

Funding and Policy Outlook

What is the current government's outlook on global health ODA?

On October 12, 2023, the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, Minister of Higher Education and Research Sylvie Retailleau, and Minister of Health and Prevention Aurélien Rousseau introduced France's new Global Health Strategy for 2023-2027.

The strategy contains five main objectives:

  • Promote equitable and resilient healthcare systems to achieve universal healthcare coverage;
  • Promote the health and well-being of populations, and prevent and combat disease at all stages of life;
  • Better prepare for and respond to public health emergencies and the consequences of climate change, with a "One Health" approach;
  • Promote a new global health architecture; and
  • Support French research and expertise.

The strategy was described as a continuation of the previous 2017-2021 strategy and contained cross-cutting objectives included in other development strategies.

France also focuses on the intersection of social protection and global health, particularly emphasizing maternal and newborn health and SRHR. In 2023, the MEAE published its 2023-2027 strategy on SRHR.

Key Bodies

Global health R&D is also important to addressing many of the global health challenges that disproportionately affect the world’s most disadvantaged people. For more information on how donor countries are supporting global health R&D across three main areas — 1) EIDs; 2) PRNDs; and 3) SRH — read the excellent G-Finder reports and explore the interactive data portal created by Policy Cures Research. Not all funding mentioned in these analyses qualifies as ODA.

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Mareike Fürst

Mareike Fürst

Mareike Fürst

Mareike Fürst

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