French NGOs call for an increased financial transaction tax to grow development funding

In an open editorial published on July 20, 2019, 65 French NGOs, including Coordination SUD, Action against Hunger, Oxfam France, and Doctors of the World, called for an increase of the existing financial transactions tax to mobilize additional revenue for development.

The presentation of a bill to regulate official development assistance has been repeatedly postponed, despite previous commitments by the French government to pass and enact the law by 2019 and 2020, respectively. If signed into law, the bill would set a clear trajectory for French ODA spending to progressively reach 0.55% of France's GNI by 2022. The authors highlight the French public's pursuit of fiscal justice, crystalized in the Yellow Vest movement, and call upon their government to take action in response.

Op-ed - Le journal du Dimanche (in French)


France promotes digital financial inclusion for Africa at G7 Finance event

At the 2019 G7 Finance event held in Chantilly on July 17-18, France led a discussion on digital financial inclusion in Africa.

Following a report introduced by Melinda Gates entitled 'Women's Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa', France aims to mobilize millions of euros to fund proposals detailed in the Gates' Foundation report. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to give access to an additional 400 million African adults (of whom 60% are women) to digital financial services by 2030.

The report's recommendations notably include:

  • The creation of a system enabling inter-operability among digital payment systems;
  • The establishment of digital identity for women to facilitate access to credit; and
  • The creation of a legal environment that contributes to a harmonization of the existing regulation in the 54 African countries.

News article - Le Monde (in French)


NGOs call for accountability measures on gender equality pledges from G7 leaders

In a joint open editorial published by Euractiv, heads of several prominent French NGOs called upon G7 leaders to adopt a robust and effective accountability mechanism to monitor progress on gender equality recommendations made during the French presidency of the G7.

Notably, activists recommended initiating a Global Alliance for Gender Equality, which would replicate Open Government Partnership's methodology to monitor progress on gender equality through an independent reporting mechanism.

Editorial: Euractiv


Director of French development agency criticizes USAID's 'self-reliance' strategy

The director-general of the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD), Remy Rioux, criticized the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID's) strategy of promoting 'self-reliance' as "perverse". In an interview with Devex, Rioux called upon Europe to reject USAID's policy as the wrong model for development. USAID's 'journey to self-reliance' policy is built on the notion that the purpose of US foreign assistance is to end the need for its existence. AFD's head called that idea outdated.

News article - Devex

France United States

Over half of G7 spending for education goes to achieving gender equality

UNESCO's Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report has shown that 55% of spending by the G7 on education projects is earmarked for initiatives that strive to eradicate gender inequalities in schooling.

France, who currently holds the G7 presidency, is the second-largest donor, at 76%, after Canada at 92%. The analysis was part of a broader examination by UNESCO and GEM examining donor allocations to gender parity in education. The report gives recommendations for countries to equalize access to education between the genders, which include the following:

  1. Fighting negative gender norms through coed sports or extracurricular activities that allow children of all genders to engage with one another, and encouraging girls to participate in STEM activities;
  2. Increasing equitable access to education through conditional cash transfers, food for education initiatives, second-chance programs and strong technical and vocational training for women in key industries;
  3. Strengthening teaching and learning resources through the revision of curriculum frameworks to help develop gender-responsive toolkits for teachers, and the provision of financial incentives for female teachers in remote locations;
  4. Improving the learning environment through the development of local community learning centers and the legal frameworks and codes of conduct, and the enforcement of minimum standards on water and sanitation.

Blog post - UNESCO World Education Blog

Building Bridges for Gender Equality report - Global Education Monitoring

French G7 Biarritz Summit preparatory meetings hone in on gender inequality in education and entrepreneurship

On July 4-5, 2019, the G7 development and education ministers met in Paris to prepare the G7 Biarritz Summit to take place on August 24-26, 2019. The meetings focused on fighting inequality, with particular emphasis on gender equality and significant priority given to Africa.

French President Macron has pledged to:

  • Match donations to UNICEF France between July and December 2019 for the education of girls in the Sahel, and to support projects for menstrual hygiene, which is often an obstacle to schooling;
  • Provide significant support for organizations in the fight against sexual violence in conflict;
  • Leverage G-7 countries to generate US$3 billion in loans for female African entrepreneurs.

France also called on all G7 countries to double funds for the education of girls in the Sahel.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

France Agriculture

UK calls on G7 development ministers to increase funding for Ebola-hit DRC

The UK secretary for state for international development, Rory Stewart, has called upon G7 donors to increase funding to help deal with the deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Currently, the UK and the US are among the biggest donors to the crisis, but the World Health Organisation is facing a funding shortage and needs additional resources to address the epidemic.

During the G7 development minister’s meeting on July 4, 2019, held in France, Stewart requested further support, particularly from France and Japan, for the crisis, which has already resulted in 1,600 deaths in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces in eastern DRC, since August of 2018. 

Press release - UK Government 

C7 engagement group addresses recommendations for G7 2019

On July 3, 2019, The C7 Engagement Group (comprised of civil society organizations from G7 countries)  addressed policy recommendations to the French secretary of state for foreign affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, at the Economic, Social and Environment Council in France.

Key recommendations included:

  • Increasing financial resources dedicated to feminist associations, NGOs, and movements
  • Eradicating inequalities, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel, to ensure quality education for all
  • Providing accessible sexual and reproductive health and rights services
  • Supporting low-income countries in their domestic resource mobilization strategies
  • Substantially increasing the 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target by 2020 and agreeing on coal phase-out dates nationally
  • Ending the under-taxation of rich individuals and large corporations

Report - Coordination SUD website

France Education Global health

Australia and France to increase co-engagement in Pacific development

French President Emmanuel Macron and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison have agreed to align Australian and French interests in the Indo-Pacific more closely. This includes in the area of development assistance.

 News article - The Australian  

Australia France

French think tank gives recommendations to reform France’s global health policy institutional framework

A few months before the meeting of Global Fund against Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the influential French think tank Santé Mondiale 2030, has published a policy paper with recommendations to renew the French Global Health policy framework. These include:

  • A better division of tasks and responsibilities among French public entities, a detailed action plan with indicators, empowerment of the French Health Ministry, and more human resources;
  • A stronger political backing of France’ global health diplomacy, including the pursuit of the engagement at the presidential level, with a reinforcement of the cooperation with European allies and a higher presence in global health multilateral organizations;
  • A reinforcement of the strategic piloting of France’s global health strategy including the creation of a multi-stakeholder group, gathering all French health actors;
  • The definition of a new role for the French development agency on health issues, better coordination with French field actors, the development of a culture of evaluation, and the inclusion of France’s research and higher education centers and public entities in France’s global health agenda.

Policy report - Santé Mondiale 2030 (in French)