02/07/2008 - France is one of the international community’s key players in development co-operation. French Official Development Assistance was USD 9.94 billion in 2007, ranking France third among DAC member countries. Yet this figure, as in most DAC member countries, was down from 2006 - ODA as a share of Gross National Income fell from 0.47 % in 2006 to 0.39 % in 2007.
France recently altered its earlier commitment to achieve 0.5% in 2007 and 0.7% in 2012, bringing it into line with the European Union’s undertaking to achieve 0.51 % in 2010 and 0.7 % in 2015. It is essential that France should plan for the resources that will be needed to meet this increase. The government should ensure that sufficient appropriations are included in the three year budget legislation when it goes before Parliament for approval this year. In doing so, France is invited by DAC to consider the manner in which it reports its official development assistance.
France has some specific assets, in particular its close historical, cultural and economic ties with many developing countries and its ability to combine multiple tools such as aid projects and technical assistence in support of their development. In addition to its efforts in favour of peace and security, France has been one of the drivers in key areas such as development financing and involvement in fragile states. It has also taken innovative approaches at the regional level.
DAC has noted the fragmentation of the French system, involving various ministries and agencies. In addition, its procedures are complex. This reduces its impact. DAC is therefore pleased that the Peer Review has coincided with the current general review of public policies and would like to see the Review serve, as the Secretary of State said, to further the reform of the French aid system. DAC invites France to pursue its efforts, undertaken since 2004, to enhance the impact of its aid and the efficiency of its system. In particular, France could reinforce its strategic management and strengthen AFD, the agency that manages aid. This reform effort should take account of the need to implement the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness.
Finally, France could reinforce its strategic approach to development co operation by focusing on combating poverty. Greater geographic concentration on the least developed countries and fragile states will enable it to have a stronger impact. In so doing, it should be careful to strike an appropriate balance between grants and loans. DAC encourages France to continue its policy, particularly with regard to reforming the security sector. France could also make more use of NGOs as a resource and engage in humanitarian aid, like other donors.
DAC conducted its Peer Review of the Development Co-operation Policies and Programmes of France on 6 May 2008. The discussions were led by the DAC Chair, Mr. Eckhard Deutscher. Heading the French Delegation was Mr. A. Joyandet, Secretary of State for Co operation and the Francophone World. The examiners were Sweden and the United Kingdom. DAC’s Main Findings and Recommendations are available on the OECD website, at www.oecd.org/dac/peerreviews/france. For further information, journalists are invited to contact Helen Fisher, OECD Media Relations Division (e-mail: helen.fisher @ oecd.org;Tel:+ 33 (0)1 45 24 80 97).