After substantive debates on both parliamentary chambers and following a commitment made by President Macron at the early stage of its mandate, France adopted a new program and orientation bill on solidarity development and the fight against global inequalities.
According to the law, France will aim to allocate 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) to official development assistance (ODA) by 2025, with the envisioned trajectory of 0.52% in 2021, 0.56% in 2022, 0.61% in 2023, 0.66% in 2024. This would result in an additional €6.3 billion (US$7.6 billion) allocated to development assistance in 2025, compared to current 2021 volumes.
At least 70% of France’s ODA (excluding debt relief and loans to international financial institutions) would consist of grants, and 65% of ODA will be channeled bilaterally.
Geographical priorities have also been set by the new law; by 2025, 25% of ODA will be allocated to 19 priority countries, mainly located in sub-Saharan Africa, meaning the regions of Eastern, Western Central, and Southern Africa, as designated by the African Union. 75% of ODA (and 85% of French Development Agency’s activities) will be directed to the African continent and the Mediterranean region, and 50% of ODA to the 19 priority countries.
The bill sets three objectives to France’s ODA:
- The fight against poverty, malnutrition and global inequalities, and the promotion of education and health;
- The promotion of human rights, in particular children’s, of the rule of law and democracy, and Francophonie; and
- The protection of global public goods.
In addition, gender equality has become a crosscutting objective of French development policy. By 2025, 75% of bilateral ODA will have gender equality as one of many significant objectives, and 20% of projects will have gender as their principal objective.
The law also plans to modernize France's development policy through the introduction of new mechanisms such as:
- An ODA evaluation independent committee;
- An annual Parliamentary review of ODA’s effectiveness and coherence, and of citizen’s perceptions of ODA;
- An open database on bilateral and multilateral ODA; and
- The launch of a Fund for Innovation in Development headed by Nobel Prize Laureate Ester Duflo/