Chapter 5. Delivery modalities and partnerships, globally, regionally and at country level

France is developing a variety of partnerships with a large number of actors, including emerging countries, and it delivers its aid jointly with other donors, in particular those from Europe. French aid is almost completely untied; it has become more transparent in recent years; and France performs well on development effectiveness, except for medium-term predictability. French co-operation is also appreciated by partner countries for the added value brought by its historical and cultural ties, its technical expertise and the range of instruments it has at its disposal. However, France does not draw up detailed partnership agreements with these countries that show all the activities funded and all anticipated outcomes. This makes overseeing co-operation, and monitoring and evaluation, difficult. France could also deploy its skills better in fragile contexts, do more to simplify its budgetary architecture and make its programming more flexible.



Peer review indicator: The member’s approach to partnerships for development co-operation with a range of actors (national and local government, UN agencies, development banks, CSOs, foundations, knowledge institutions, media, private sector) reflects good practice

France is developing a variety of partnerships with a large number of actors, including emerging countries. It delivers its assistance jointly with other donors, European donors in particular. French assistance is almost completely untied, and it has become more transparent in recent years. But there is still room to simplify the budgetary architecture and to make its programming more flexible.

Partnerships are numerous and varied

France is developing numerous co-operation partnerships, with multilateral agencies, development banks (in emerging countries too), civil society, local authorities, the private sector and the academic community.

French multilateral assistance goes chiefly to the institutions of the European Union, to special-purpose funds in the fields of health, climate and education, to a number of UN agencies (chiefly in the form of statutory contributions), and to development banks (Section 3.3). France has a share in the capital of these banks, and co-finances joint funds and projects with them through the French Development Agency (AFD). For example in Morocco it does so with the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the African Development Bank. It also shares know-how and produces joint studies with the other financial institutions.

Positive steps have recently been taken to support civil society actors. An example is the creation of the National Council for Development and International Solidarity (CNDSI) in 2013 (Chapters 1 and 2). In terms of civil society more specifically, the fact that France has been a member of the Open Government Partnership since 2014, the aim of which is to strengthen consultation and co-operation between governments and civil society organisations, gives a positive signal. In addition, since 2015, AFD has contributed to the capital resources of a number of French and international non-government organisations (NGOs), thus enabling them to improve the predictability of their programmes and the independence of their activity. France has also launched the PISCCA programme (Innovative Projects of Civil Societies and Other Stakeholder Coalitions). This fund replaces the Social Development Fund in the countries concerned. Its objective is to encourage the emergence of organisations likely to operate effectively in the field, and to co-ordinate their work with government departments, local authorities and external actors. In Morocco and Niger, however, medium-sized NGOs report that they cannot access AFD funding managed from Paris, because the financial envelope administered by the French embassy in each country is modest and tailored more towards very small local NGOs (Annex C). Increasing the aid channelled through NGOs would be a good way of putting their know-how and capabilities to better use in their interaction with civil society. It would also be a route to helping the poorest in society – one of France’s commitments in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2018 commitment by the Interministerial Committee on International Co-operation and Development (CICID) to double the assistance channelled through NGOs and local authorities is thus a step in the right direction (MEAE, 2018a).

France has forged numerous partnerships with the private sector, chiefly through AFD and its subsidiary Proparco (Chapter 3). It has also created partnerships with emerging donors and developing countries through triangular co-operation, for example in a number of areas in Morocco (climate, infrastructure, environment, voluntary work, education). It also co-operates with financial institutions in emerging countries (Box 5.1).

Box 5.1. Enhanced co-operation with financial institutions in emerging countries

In 2011, AFD was a founder member of the International Development Finance Club (IDFC). AFD’s CEO, Rémy Rioux, was appointed Chairperson of the IDFC in 2017. The IDFC is a global network of 23 public development financing institutions, 19 of which are in emerging or developing countries. With total assets of USD 3 500 billion and over USD 780 billion in annual funding, the IDFC is five times bigger than all the multilateral banks put together.

The objectives of the IDFC are to influence major international debates on development and climate finance through common positions, to identify and develop common business opportunities, and to pool know-how and good practice for mutual learning. For example, the IDFC commits USD 100 billion every year in “green” and climate finance and has devised common accounting methods for climate finance. Some IDFC members, including emerging countries, will be implementing Green Climate Fund projects.

AFD hopes to use its presidency to increase the club’s influence in matters of climate finance, by implementing the Paris Agreement, exploring innovative opportunities in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (governance, inequalities, urban development) and strengthening the IDFC’s position as the third pillar of development financing alongside the multilateral banks and the private sector.

The Sino-French Third-Countries Investment Fund, with funding of EUR 300 million, is another example of France’s desire to co-operate with financial institutions in emerging countries. The fund hopes to grow to EUR 2 billion in the years ahead, drawing on the complementary capabilities of French and Chinese enterprises to invest in the developing world.

In June 2016, France (along with other European countries but without the USA, Canada and Japan) joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank set up by China in 2014. This is a further indication of its desire to strengthen its co-operation with and capability for investment in emerging markets.

Sources: Drif, A. (2016), « La France et la Chine s’allient pour investir à l’international » Les Échos,; Nodé-Langlois, F (2015) « Pourquoi la France rejoint la nouvelle banque chinoise de développement » Le Figaro,

The French State has also strengthened its partnerships with local authorities, following adoption of the White Paper Diplomatie et territoires (Section 2.3) and AFD’s creation of the French Local Authorities Financing Facility (FICOL) in 2014. This facility allows AFD to directly finance projects that are initiated and then implemented by French local authorities.1 Elsewhere, the alliance between AFD and the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) should enable the AFD to strengthen its links with local authorities. Lastly, the CICID gave a commitment in 2018 that by 2022 France would double its financial support to overseas action by local authorities (MEAE, 2018a).2

France is also developing numerous partnerships with research centres and universities. It does this through its own establishments – the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and the Institut Pasteur – all of which have offices in many developing countries and have been helping to strengthen the scientific community in those countries for years. It also does this through its institutes specialising in international development – the Foundation for Studies and Research on International Development (FERDI) and the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) – and through co-operative projects with research establishments in France and abroad (MEAE, 2017). France is also developing its cultural co-operation, drawing on its network of 96 branches of the Institut Français and over 800 branches of the Alliance Française.

ODA budget programming remains complex and inflexible

The budgetary structure of French ODA is complex. There are 24 separate budget programmes; spread over 13 remits (“missions”) managed by 14 ministries, plus off-budget loans that have been increasing in recent years. The two main budget programmes are programme 209 – “Solidarity with developing countries” – managed by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) – and programme 110 – “Economic and financial aid to development” – managed by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance (MINEFI). Together they make up less than one-third of total French ODA (Figure 5.1).

This means that two-thirds of French ODA are managed as part of remits (1) whose main objective is not development – some of them represent sizeable sums, such as “Research and higher education”, worth EUR 1.07 billion in 2017 and made up chiefly of tuition fees and grants for higher education in France (MEAE, 2018b); or (2) which represent off-budget funds (mainly the financial transaction tax and solidarity levy on air tickets, and assistance to local authorities; see Section 3.4). The complexity of the budget structure makes it difficult to understand the relationship between budgets that are approved and what is ultimately recorded in the accounts as ODA.

Figure 5.1. France’s ODA architecture (2016)

Note: C2D: Debt reduction and development contracts

Source: MEAE (2018b), « La Politique Transversale: Politique française en faveur du développement »,

Budgets are drawn up annually, and France does not share medium-term budget forecasts with its bilateral and multilateral partners. This has undermines the predictability of its aid. For example, as was seen in Morocco and Niger, the annual planning of the Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects for local NGOs prevents them from planning their own future measures (Annex C).

France delivers its aid jointly with other European donors

The Orientation and Programming Law on Development and International Solidarity Policy (LOP-DSI), enacted in 2014, commits France to delivering its aid to beneficiary countries, where relevant, through joint European programming. In total, 56 countries, including 12 of France’s 17 priority countries,3 are part of this process. For these countries, France no longer produces a bilateral programming document and is looking to bring its programme cycles into line with those of the joint programming system. It will still seek to highlight the three priority sectors for French assistance (chosen from the 10 priority sectors defined in the LOP-DSI) and the two cross-cutting priorities, though it will have to show a measure of flexibility (Chapter 2). In Niger, for example, France took part in a joint diagnosis procedure and is waiting for the joint European programming to be finished before it decides which sectors will receive its assistance. This joint programming, if effective, will enable France to make its assistance less fragmented (Annex C).

France plays an active part in the aid co-ordination mechanisms in various countries, such as the Common Sectoral Fund for Education in Niger. It is the lead partner in some sectors, where it brings considerable added value, for example in water and sanitation in Morocco. It also uses delegated co-operation – for example in Morocco between AFD, the European Investment Bank and KfW in water, sanitation and electricity (Annex C). In 2016, the European Union delegated the management of EUR 541.2 million to AFD and EUR 63.3 million to Expertise France (MEAE, 2017).

Further progress needed on the transparency of assistance

France has increased the transparency of its assistance. Between 2012 and 2016, it continued to report satisfactorily to the Creditor Reporting System (Section 3.4). It has also improved its responses to the OECD’s Forward Spending Survey, even if the scope of the information provided could be increased (OECD, 2017b). It also joined the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) in 2016, but needs to improve its reporting4 (OECD/UNDP, 2016). The MEAE and AFD publish information on the projects they fund on a single platform;5 AFD is getting ready to publish its projected disbursements for each project. Information on projects funded by AFD and Proparco is published online in map form,6 and AFD also publishes this on, the website for official French data.7 AFD is also keen to increase the transparency of its non-sovereign funding and funding by Proparco and the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM), along with publishing decentralised ex-post evaluations (Chapter 6).8 France is also pursuing efforts in the context of the Open Government Partnership, with a specific commitment to aid transparency.9

France’s ODA is almost completely untied

The share of France’s tied aid has steadily declined since 2013. In 2016, 96.3% of French bilateral aid was untied (Annex B, Table B.6), meaning that France outperformed the membership of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) as a whole (whose share of untied aid was 81.3%; OECD, 2017a). France’s ODA to least-developed countries (LDCs) and to non-LDC heavily indebted poor countries is almost totally untied (98.9% in 2016, compared with 88.3% for the DAC membership as a whole). It should be noted that, in 2014, 40% of contracts awarded by French co-operation ultimately went to French suppliers, slightly below the share for the DAC membership as a whole (42% of contracts awarded to suppliers in the donor country). In volume terms, 38% of the total value of contracts awarded by France went to French suppliers – well below the DAC overall figure of 46% (OECD, 2017a).

Country-level engagement

Peer review indicator: The member’s engagement in partner countries is consistent with its domestic and international commitments, including those specific to fragile states

The fact that France does not draw up detailed partnership agreements with beneficiary countries that show all the activities funded and all anticipated outcomes makes overseeing co-operation, and monitoring and evaluation, difficult. France performs well on the effectiveness of its development aid, apart from its medium-term predictability. French co-operation is appreciated in its partner countries for the added value brought by its historical and cultural ties, its technical expertise and the range of instruments available to it. France could usefully deploy its skills better in fragile contexts.

The lack of an overall co-operation framework in partner countries makes it difficult to oversee and monitor co-operation

In the interest of harmonisation, France decided to stop drawing up bilateral programming documents in countries for which joint European programming is done (Section 5.1). In other countries it sometimes signs a framework partnership agreement with the beneficiary country. The form of this policy document may vary, but it does not, as a rule, name specific sums of money or indicators, and sometimes AFD does not feature prominently enough, as was apparent in Niger (Annex C). AFD has its own special strategy in some countries – such as Morocco – but these strategies do not include detailed sums of money or indicators either, and are concerned only with AFD projects, and only the broad lines of intervention are discussed with partner countries. The General Directorate of the Treasury also has a number of country strategies, but it does not share them with the countries concerned. The ministries for various sectors and establishments working in the area of co-operation sometimes have their own country strategies too.

It would be useful if France could prepare partnership frameworks covering all of France’s development co-operation activities with each partner country to which it gives aid. Doing so would make it easier for the embassy to oversee co-operation, and would assist with dialogue with the national authorities. By including the financing amounts, objectives and indicators for all activities, they would also help to create an overall picture of France’s co-operation in each country and make it easier to monitor the outcomes. For those countries where joint European programming occurs, these frameworks could be prepared once the joint programmes have been finalised.

France’s development is effective, but crisis responses are limited by overly inflexible procedures

France has taken part in all the surveys of the implementation of the Paris Declaration and undertakings given at the Busan Forum on effective development.10 The MEAE is responsible for co-ordinating and checking the quality and coherence of the data provided. France’s performance on untying aid is highly satisfactory (Section 5.1), and it is making headway on transparency (Section 5.1). France is also doing well on ownership and alignment: it has increased the proportion of its funding that is allocated to national budgets from 57.1% in 2010 to 63.9% in 2016, and it channels a large part of its funding through national systems (67.3% in 2016) – well above the DAC member average of 47.2% (Figure 5.2). France makes very extensive use of beneficiary countries’ budgetary and procurement systems (OECD/UNDP, 2016).

AFD’s projects are systematically carried out through local contracting authorities and in line with the beneficiary countries’ procedures. Interviews with government representatives and other donors during visits to Morocco and Niger confirmed France’s willingness for its aid to be owned by the partner countries and to use national systems (Annex C). However, the medium-term predictability of France’s aid has worsened, slipping from 82.2% in 2013 to 58.7% in 2016;11 this fall reflects the lack of a multiannual envelope in country partnership agreements (Section 5.1).

The Crisis and Support Centre (CDCS) has a clear structure, allowing a rapid response to crises and good co-ordination with the embassies concerned. Liaison with AFD’s Crisis and Conflict Unit works smoothly in Paris, though the decision-making circuit is not flexible enough to provide an effective link between emergency aid or support and development. CICID’s decision in 2018 to double the sums allocated to the Vulnerability Mitigation Facility (MEAE, 2018a) will require a revision of administrative procedures. Likewise, systemic introduction of multidisciplinary teams might help with the operational implementation of strategies, fostering a global and consistent approach to crises.

Figure 5.2. France’s development effectiveness performance

Source: OECD/UNDP (2016), Making Development Co-operation More Effective : 2016 Progress Report, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Beneficiary countries value the technical expertise, range of instruments and clearly stated terms of French aid

France’s added value stems from its historical and linguistic links with most of its priority countries, and from its technical expertise and long-term engagement. These factors allow actors in the field to adjust to changes in the economic and social climate and to be alert to the needs voiced by their opposite numbers at national level. The range of instruments available - notably the arrangements for loans grants, and technical assistance projects – gives AFD the edge over other donors. This was seen in Morocco and Niger where the agency’s strength in technical assistance leads the national authorities to choose AFD over other development banks, even if its financing terms are not always the most advantageous. The absorption of Expertise France into AFD will further increase the technical assistance available to projects, especially in areas that are new to AFD, such as governance.

Political conditions are attached chiefly to bilateral budgetary assistance, which makes up only a small part of French ODA. The conditions attached to aid delivered to local NGOs out of the Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects are clear, but are sometimes too complex and unwieldy for the size of the sums allocated.12 AFD does not attach political conditions to its projects, but they must respect certain principles (ethics, corporate responsibility, environmental safeguards and human rights). They must also meet techno-economic conditions and comply with banking regulations on corruption, money laundering or the financing of terrorism (MEAE, 2017) (Chapter 1). Nevertheless, France could make its aid more results-based (Chapter 6), in line with its undertakings at Busan. In Niger, for example, NGOs funded by AFD feel that the agency’s projects focus too much on financial management and not enough on impacts (Annex C).

Global analysis of fragilities is needed to improve crisis prevention

France takes into account the multifaceted nature of fragility; it extends this also to the macroeconomic level, where it can exert an influence in its priority countries.13 Assessment by region or crisis context is another positive factor, making it possible to gain a regional view of crisis factors. Fragility analysis is conducted by both the MEAE and AFD, and their capacities are expanding. There is good co-ordination between the two entities and with the Ministry of the Armed Forces (Ministère des Armées, 2016). Even so, AFD’s Vulnerability Mitigation Facility is not yet sufficiently flexible, and the Crisis and Support Centre’s modest Stabilisation Unit remains the only instrument able to quickly commit funds to prevent crises from escalating.


AFD (2017), “Responsabilité sociétale 2016” (in French), French Development Agency, Paris,

Drif, A. (2016) “La France et la Chine s’allient pour investir à l’international” (in French), Les Échos, 14 November 2016, (accessed 27 February 2018).

MEAE (2018a), “Comité interministériel de la coopération internationale et du développement (CICID) 8 février 2018. Relevé de conclusions” (in French), MEAE, Paris,

MEAE (2018b), ), “Politique française en faveur du développement”, Document de politique transversale (in French), MEAE, Paris,

MEAE (2017), “Mémorandum de la France sur ses politiques de coopération : Comité d'aide au développement, OCDE”, (in French) MEAE, Paris.

MEAE (2015), “Aide budgétaire globale 2015” (in French), France in the Central African Republic, website of the French Embassy in Bangui, (accessed 3 March 2018).

Ministry of the Armed Forces (2016), “Gagner la guerre ; gagner la paix”, online article, (in French), Ministry of the Armed Forces, Paris, (accessed 26 February 2018).

Nodé-Langlois, F (2015) “Pourquoi la France rejoint la nouvelle banque chinoise de développement” (in French), Le Figaro, 18 March 2015, (accessed 27 February 2018).

OECD (2018), OECD/DAC statistics, (accessed 27 February 2018).

OECD (2017a), “2017 report on the DAC Untying Recommendation”, OECD, Paris,

OECD (2017b), DAC statistical reporting issues in 2016. Unpublished.

OECD/UNDP (2016), Making Development Co-operation More Effective: 2016 Progress Report, OECD Publishing, Paris


← 1. For details see

← 2. ODA delivered by local authorities totalled USD 91 million in 2016 (OECD, 2018).

← 3. According to the list drawn up by the CICID in 2016 – see Section 3.2.1.

← 4. In the 2016 Aid Transparency Index published by Publish What You Fund, AFD, the MEAE and the MINEFI are rated respectively as fair, poor and very poor (

← 5. See

← 6. See and

← 7. See

← 8. In 2017, AFD introduced a mechanism for handling environmental and social complaints about its projects, and a policy of corporate responsibility including a section on transparency aimed at staff. It has, since 2012, published an annual corporate responsibility report as part of the Global Reporting Initiative (AFD, 2017).

← 9. For the MEAE, this means extending the publication of ODA figures to include new geographical zones by 2019.

← 10. Surveys conducted in 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2016.

← 11. In total, 22 countries supplied data for this indicator in 2013 and 29 in 2016. Taking into account the 18 countries which replied to both surveys, the decline in performance is similar (from 83.0% in 2013 to 61.8% in 2016).

← 12. Less than EUR 10 000 for most projects.

← 13. For example, budgetary support for the Central African Republic enabled: (1) civil service salaries to be paid, with a preventive and stabilising effect; and (2) elections to be held (MEAE, 2015).