France

France is among the top providers of official development assistance (ODA) in volume, with a strong focus on supporting least developed countries (LDCs) in Africa and protecting the environment. Total ODA (USD 15.4 billion, preliminary data) increased slightly in 2021, representing 0.52% of gross national income (GNI). ODA increases exceeded COVID-19 vaccine donations.

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

The 2021 Law on Inclusive Development and Combating Global Inequalities (Programming Act No. 2021-1031) identifies ten thematic priorities in France’s efforts to fight poverty and global inequality and preserve global public goods. These are: 1) environment and climate; 2) gender equality; 3) crises and fragilities; 4) human rights; 5) health; 6) education; 7) food security; 8) water and sanitation; 9) inclusive growth; and 10) governance. Eighteen LDCs in Africa plus Haiti make up France’s priority partner countries.

France has continuously advocated for a multilateral and European approach in the context of its Group of Seven presidency in 2019 and through its leadership on climate change and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In support of a sustainable recovery from the pandemic, , France organised the international “Finance in Common” summit in November 2020, which brought together public development banks for the first time around the theme of sustainable recovery. Gender and gender equality also have a more central place in France's policy, including the establishment of a Support Fund for Feminist Organisations.

The OECD-DAC mid-term review published in 2022 highlighted the unanimous approval of the new development co-operation law and commended France’s efforts to increase ODA, introduce more efficient procedures, improve steering at partner country level, and more closely collaborate with civil society. It encouraged France to increase the share of grants compared to loans in line with its ambitions to support fragile contexts and the LDCs, and to strengthen its efforts to steer its development co-operation by results. Learn more about France’s 2022 mid-term review and 2018 peer review.

France provided USD 15.4 billion (preliminary data) of ODA in 2021,1 representing 0.52% of GNI. This was an increase of 4.6% in real terms in volume and a slight decrease in share of GNI from 2020. ODA measured on a grant equivalent basis has increased every year since 2014. France has a domestic commitment to achieve a 0.55% ODA/GNI ratio by 2022. The 2021 law on development confirmed France’s =commitment to achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio in 2025, and has set the following intermediate targets: 0.61% in 2023 and 0.66% in 2024. France is also committed, at the European level, to collectively achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030. Within France’s ODA portfolio in 2020, 55.9% was provided in the form of grants and 44.1% in the form of non-grants.2

France ranks fifth among Development Assistance Committee (DAC) countries in terms of ODA volume and seventh in terms of ODA/GNI ratio. A high share of screened bilateral allocable aid focused on environmental issues as a principal objective in 2020, compared with the DAC country average of 10.8%. France provided the highest share among DAC countries in gross bilateral ODA to small island developing states (SIDS) in 2020.

France is committed to several international targets and Development Assistance Committee standards and recommendations. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

France provided most of its ODA bilaterally in 2020. Gross bilateral ODA was 70.3% of total ODA. Eight per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). France allocated 29.7% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2020, France provided USD 1.6 billion of gross bilateral ODA for the COVID-19 response, representing 11.9% of its total gross bilateral ODA. One per cent of total gross bilateral ODA was provided as health expenditure within the COVID-19 response3.

In 2020, France provided USD 6.6 billion of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 22.0% in real terms from 2019. Of this, USD 5.5 billion was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding that is earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 87.4% of France’s non-core contributions and 12.6% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Eighty per cent of France’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2020 was allocated to European Union institutions and the United Nations (UN) system.

The UN system received 12.4% of France’s gross ODA to the multilateral system, mainly through core contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 815.9 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of France’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were: IFAD (USD 241.7 million), UNITAID (USD 108.3 million) and WHO (USD 62.0 million).

See the section on Geographic and sectoral focus of ODA for the breakdown of bilateral allocations, including ODA earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2020, France’s bilateral spending increased compared to the previous year. It provided USD 13.1 billion of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented an increase of 29.8% in real terms from 2019. In 2020, France focused most of its bilateral ODA on addressing the partnerships, education, sustainable cities and hunger goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

In 2020, country programmable aid was 66.3% of France’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 49.7%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 1.2  billion in 2020, a decrease of 3.1% in real terms over 2019, and represented 6.6% of France’s total gross ODA.

France disbursed USD 19.8 million for triangular co-operation in 2020, with Libya as its main partner for this co-operation. Learn more about specific projects at the OECD’s voluntary triangular co-operation project repository and more broadly.

In 2020, France channelled bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector and multilateral organisations, as earmarked funding. Technical co-operation made up 10.4% of gross ODA in 2020.

In 2020, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 632.3 million of gross bilateral ODA. Less than 1% of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 4.7% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). From 2019 to 2020, the combined core and earmarked contributions for CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 5.0% to 4.8%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs, civil society engagement in development co-operation and the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid.

In 2020, France’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa and Asia. USD 5.2 billion was allocated to Africa and USD 2.3 billion to Asia, accounting respectively for 40.1% and 17.5% of gross bilateral ODA. Allocations to ODA-eligible countries in America and the Middle-East accounted respectively for 14.2% and 3.3% of gross bilateral ODA. Although France’s strategy is to focus on the LDCs, lower middle-income countries are the main beneficiaries of French bilateral ODA. America was the main regional recipient of France’s small share of earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2020, 28.3% of gross bilateral ODA went to France’s top 10 recipients. Only 1 of France’s 19 priority countries is among its top 10 recipients. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 27.9%, mainly due to expenditure for in-donor refugees.

In 2020, the LDCs received 16.8% of France’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 2.2 billion). This is below the DAC country average of 24.4%. France allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (32.5%) to lower middle-income countries in 2020, noting that 27.9% was unallocated by income group. France allocated 5.9% of gross bilateral ODA to SIDS in 2020, equal to USD 767.3 million.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 3.0 billion in 2020, representing 22.9% of France’s gross bilateral ODA. One per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, decreasing from 3.2% in 2019, while 3.7% was allocated to peace, an increase from 3.2% in 2019. Less than 1% went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, a similar level to 2019.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2020, social infrastructure and services was the largest focus of France’s bilateral ODA allocations. Investments in this area accounted for 33.5% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 5.5 billion), with a strong focus on education (USD 1.7 billion) and support to government and civil society (USD 1.2 billion). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled USD 4.0 billion, with a focus on financial and business services (USD 1.7 billion). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 119.1 million (0.7% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused on production sectors, economic infrastructure and services, and other macroeconomic sector in 2020.

In 2020, France committed USD 143.7 million of bilateral ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 1.1% of its bilateral allocable aid. France also committed USD 5.5 billion (42% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2020. France is among the top 10 providers of aid for trade globally.

In 2020, France committed 43.7% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as either a principal or significant objective (up from 40.9% in 2019),4 compared with the 2020 DAC country average of 44.6%. This is equal to USD 5.5 billion of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. The share of screened bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 3.1%, compared with the 2020 DAC country average of 4.8%. Interventions in government and civil society and economic infrastructure focus less on gender than other sectors. France screens virtually all activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (95.1% in 2020). Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality, the DAC Network on Gender Equality and the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation in Development Co-operation.

In 2020, France committed 63.1% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 8.3 billion) in support of the environment and the Rio Conventions (the DAC country average was 38.8%), down from 80.1% in 2019. Forty-one per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid in 2020 focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC country average of 10.8%. Fifty-six per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 7.4 billion) focused on climate change overall, up from 46.7% in 2019 (the DAC country average was 34%). France had a greater focus on adaptation (41.3%) than on mitigation (40.8%) in 2020. Learn more about climate-related development finance and the DAC Declaration on Aligning Development Co-operation with the Goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The OECD initiative Sustainable Oceans for All shows that France committed USD 200.8 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2020, 37.3% more than in 2019. The 2020 value is equivalent to 1.5% of France’s bilateral allocable aid. Learn more about development co-operation in support of a sustainable ocean economy and the data platform on development finance for a sustainable ocean economy.

France provides resource flows to developing countries beyond ODA and makes use of leveraging instruments to mobilise private finance for development.

France uses its ODA and other official development finance to mobilise private finance for development. In 2020, Proparco, the French Development Agency (AFD) and Stoa mobilised USD 1.8 billion from the private sector through credit lines and to a lesser extent also guarantees, direct investment in companies and special purpose vehicles, syndicated loans, and shares in collective investment vehicles.

A share of 77% targeted middle-income countries and 13% the LDCs in 2020, noting that 10% was unallocated by income. Furthermore, France’s private finance mobilised for fragile contexts amounted to USD 662.9 million and for SIDS USD 65.3 milllion.

Private finance mobilised by France in 2020 related mainly to activities in the banking and financial services (42%); industry, mining and construction (30%) and agriculture, forestry and fishing (10%) sectors. Moreover, 56% of France’s total private finance mobilised was for climate change mitigation and/or adaptation.

Learn more about the amounts mobilised from the private sector for development.

France’s ODA budget is made up of 24 separate budget programmes across 13 missions managed by 14 ministries, along with extra-budgetary funds. The institutional set-up consists of: (i) The newly established Development Council, chaired by the President of the Republic and attended by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) and the Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery (MEFR), which makes strategic decisions pertaining to the development policy; (ii) The Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID), chaired by the Prime minister and attended by the Secretary in charge of development policy within MEAE, which sets the general framework for France’s development cooperation andthe articulation between the various actors and methods of intervention; (iii) The MEAE and the MEFR have competency for implementation of the policy; and (iv) The French Development Agency Group which, under the joint authority of the MEAE and the MEFR, implements France’s development policy. The Group includes the Agence française de développement (AFD), which finances the public sector and non-governmental organisations, as well as research and education in sustainable development; its subsidiary Proparco, which is dedicated to private sector financing; and Expertise France, the technical cooperation agency.

An important mechanism for consulting stakeholders is the National Council for Development and International Solidarity, which is chaired by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs. The council is consulted on the orientations of France’s development policy and represents diverse stakeholders: non-governmental organisations, economic actors, research institutes and universities, employers, local government, parliamentarians, trade unions, and – a unique feature – non-French experts. CSOs active in development co-operation, humanitarian assistance and global citizenship education co-ordinate through the umbrella body Coordination Sud.

Internal systems and processes help ensure the effective delivery of France’s development co-operation. Select features are shown in Features of France’s systems for quality and oversight:

Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

2021 OECD-DAC mid-term review: https://www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/DAC-mid-term-France-2021(EN).pdf

2018 OECD-DAC peer review of France: https://www.oecd.org/dac/oecd-development-co-operation-peer-reviews-france-2018-9789264302679-en.htm

French Development Agency (AFD): https://www.afd.fr/fr

Ministry of Economy and Finance, Treasury: https://www.tresor.economie.gouv.fr/Ressources/aide-au-developpement

Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Development Aid: https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/politique-etrangere-de-la-france/aide-au-developpement

Programming Act No. 2021-1031 on inclusive development and combating global inequalities: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/jorf/id/JORFTEXT000043898536/

CSO umbrella body Coordination Sud: https://www.coordinationsud.org

France’s practices on the Development Co-operation TIPs: Tools Insights Practices learning platform: https://www.oecd.org/development-cooperation-learning?tag-key+partner=france#search

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee since 1960.

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

Notes

← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

← 3. For 2020 reporting, France did not systematically use the purpose code 12264 but instead prioritised the use of the COVID-19 keyword. Therefore, many health expenditures were reported under another health-related purpose code along with the COVID-19 keyword. Using all health-related purpose codes reported along with the COVID-19 keyword, France’s share of bilateral ODA for the health sector is 1.1%

← 4. The use of the recommended minimum criteria for the marker by some members in recent years can result in lower levels of aid reported as being focused on gender equality.

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