French development agency releases facts, figures, interactive map on Sahel interventions

France's development agency (AFD) has released key facts and figures and an interactive map related to its interventions in the Sahel region, notably through the Sahel Alliance, a development initiative led by the EU, Germany, and France. Projects with the Sahel mostly seek to address root causes of poverty and inequalities in the region.

The summary of interventions details the impact of 22 of the 600 projects with implementation dates between 2018 and 2022. AFD notably indicates that 2.1 billion (US$2.3 billion) has been committed while 1.1 billion (US$1.3 billion) have already been disbursed. In total,  9 billion (US$10 billion) will be allocated through the Sahel Alliance (all partners included) from 2018 to 2022. 

Press release - AFD (in French)


Leading French researchers say Global Fund's new strategy should parallel SDGs

The Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria will soon start designing a new strategy for the period after 2022. In an open editorial, five leading French researchers, including Nobel Laureate François Barré-Sinoussi, suggested the Global Fund more directly link its strategy with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The five prominent academics acknowledged the Global Fund's accomplishments in fighting the three global pandemics after which it's named but criticized what they see as a comparatively low contribution to efforts to strengthen health-care systems institutionally. In addition to more clear linkages with the SDGs, the Global Fund should also assume a leading role in renewing funding for global health operational research, according to the researchers. 

Editorial - The Lancet

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France extends debt relief contract with DRC

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and France signed a Debt Reduction-Development Contract (C2D) on November 12, 2019, an extension of 2013 C2D between Paris and Kinshasa. The initial contract, valued at €106 million (US$118 million), was used to conduct numerous projects in the areas of governance, water, and sanitation, as well as education and vocational training. 

The second C2D, signed in November of 2019, is valued at €65 million (US$72 million) and extends those projects by allocating new resources to education (€25 million / US$27 million), vocational training (€10 million / US$11 million), governance (€17 million / US$18 million), health and water (€10 million / US$11 million), as well as to studies and supervision (€4 million / US$4 million). 

Press release - French Development Agency (AFD) 

France supports care center for female victims of violence in Central African Republic

French Development Agency (AFD) has joined forces with Fondation Pierre Fabre to establish a comprehensive care center for female victims of violence in Bangui, Central African Republic. 

The four-year program will help victims of sexual and gender-based violence, providing them with access to comprehensive quality care, using a coordinated and holistic approach at the 'one-stop treatment center' in Bangui. This €4 million (US$5 million) program will be financed by AFD (€3 million) and Fondation Pierre Fabre (€1 million). 

Press release - French Development Agency 


UK Conservative party's manifesto pledges investment on maternal deaths, girls' education, but details of ODA spending are scarce

The UK Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto sets out a series of international development policy pledges, including a commitment to:

  • End all preventable deaths of mothers and girls by 2030;
  • Lead the way on Ebola and malaria prevention;
  • Fight to ensure all girls have the right to 12 years education; and
  • Set up a new international partnership to tackle deforestation and protect wildlife; and
  • Establish a new Blue Planet Fund to help protect the oceans.

However, when it comes to the Conservative Party's commitment to maintaining the UK’s target of spending 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA), the devil is in the detail. The manifesto contains a commitment to ensure the UK spends 0.7% of its gross national income on development, but not official development assistance. While this may sound pedantic, the wording matters.  

ODA is defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); the organization is mandated to establish and monitor adherence to its international definition of what counts as development assistance spending. The Conservative Party has for a long time championed the idea that a broader definition of assistance should be used to guide UK development assistance spending, which could incorporate security,  defense spending, and trade spending. Others have criticized the move to a broader definition, arguing that it would not only break with the OECD's international convention but also dilute the poverty focus of UK development spending.

Report - 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto

Total French spending for global health in 2018 reached nearly €500 million

In 2018, the French development agency AFD committed €497 million to healthcare around the world, supporting access for some 14 million people.

Of this funding, €379 was committed by the French bilateral agency to reinforcing healthcare systems through subsidies, long-term loans, guarantees, and investments.  €107 million was allocated to develop social protection systems. The commitments towards maternal and child health made with the Muskoka Initiative (2011- 2015) have been consolidated, with €12 million dedicated in 2018.

Press release - French Development Agency (AFD)


France launches toolkit for municipal authorities to participate in SDG action

Months before local elections in France, at the annual fair of French mayors, the nonprofit organization Comité 21 released a toolkit for mayors to implement SDGs at the local and international levels.

The 260-page practical guide identifies how local authorities can incorporate each of the SDGs in their public policies, notably through international action in the form of decentralized cooperation. 

Press release- Comité 21 (in French)


French prime minister focuses on development-security nexus in Africa

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe focused on the link between military, diplomacy, economy and development in his speech at the 6th International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa, held on November 18, 2019, in Dakar, Senegal. 

Prime Minister Philippe reiterated his government's pledge to increase French development assistance by 2022 through an additional €7 billion (US$ 7.4 billion) in funding. The consequent new bill of development is expected to be submitted to the French parliament by 2020 and a majority of the funding is proposed to be channelled to the African continent. 

News article - Government website (in French)



France pledges €2.5 billion in support for African SMEs

France has pledged €2.5 billion (US$2.8 billion) to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa, of which €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) will be allocated for equities and €1.5 billion (US$1.7 billion) for debts and guarantees by 2022. Proparco, the subsidiary of the French development agency focused on private sector development, will play an important role and will soon launch a call for expressions of interest.

The announcement was made at the second annual Ambition Africa event in Paris on October 30, 2019. Speaking at the event, French minister of economy and finance Bruno Le Maire noted that 450 million young people are projected to enter the job market on the African content in 2050. Two-thirds of these jobs, he said, should be created by SMEs, which would require the resolution of a €330 billion (US$365 billion) funding gap.

Press release - French ministry of economy and finance (in French)


France adopts new strategy on food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture

On October 22, 2019, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, secretary of state to the minister for Europe and foreign affairs, opened an event launching France’s new international strategy on food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture. Laurent Thomas, deputy director-general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); representatives of the World Food Programme and the Ivorian government; and representatives of the government, the scientific community, civil society, and the media attended.

The strategy focus on five main objectives:

  1. Strengthen global governance of food security and nutrition. France aims at playing a leading role in improving the effectiveness and coordination of international actors in these areas, in particular by defining a clear and shared vision of objectives and means of action in these areas and by promoting greater harmonization and better coordination of authorities and donors. Central to this governance are the UN institutions based in Rome;
  2. Develop sustainable agriculture and food systems to address climate change and biodiversity loss. This includes developing and promoting the transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems, from an economic, social, and environmental perspective, by addressing the challenges of climate change to ensure food security and nutrition for the population;
  3. Strengthen French action on nutrition to act in an integrated way on the various factors leading to undernutrition of young children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, such as access to quality food, drinking water, and good hygienic conditions
  4. Support the structuring of sustainable agro-food chains to promote the creation of decent jobs in rural areas, especially for young people. In developing countries, these agri-food chains represent a source of jobs to support. The inclusion of family farming in these sectors is a key issue; and
  5. Strengthen food assistance activities for vulnerable populations and improve their resilience to the causes of food insecurity, whether in emergency contexts or in situations of chronic food insecurity. In the context of recurrent food crises, it is a question of enabling these populations to regain their food autonomy.

Press release - Ministry of foreign affairs

News article - Le Monde (in French)

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