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France is strongly committed to supporting development assistance and uses a broad range of approaches to achieve its objectives.  France was the second largest donor in the world after the United States in 2009 and the third largest donor in 2010It provides aid at the bilateral, European, and multilateral levels.  Bilateral agreements are seen as a key component of France’s development assistance.Its five priority sectors are education, health, sustainable development, agriculture and food security, and economic growth. France concentrates its aids on two priority regions: sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean Basin.

The strategic guidelines, objectives, and geographical focus of French foreign aid are set forth by the Inter-ministerial Committee on International Development Cooperation, as France does not have a single ministry in charge of foreign aid. France’s four main objectives are: foster sustainable shared growth, fight against poverty and inequality, preserve global public goods, and ensure global stability and the rule of law.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry play major roles in the coordination and management of development aid. The main implementing agency is the French Development Agency.  It isboth a public establishment in charge of implementing French policy in matters of development assistance and a development bank. 

France’s budget is presented in the form of major public policies called “missions.”  Each mission comprises a set of programs with their own specific objectives and performance targets.  Programs are further divided into subprograms.Each program has a clearly identified coordinator.  The program coordinator may reallocate appropriations between subprograms within a program for a more flexible management of appropriations.  The Official Development Assistance Mission comprises twenty-three programs for 2011.  Finally, France is very active in the development of innovative sources of financing to supplement traditional development aid.

I.  Introduction

A.  Official Development Assistance Figures

France reported to the Development Assistance Committee (DCA) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) a net Official Development Assistance (ODA) of US$12,600 million in 2009 that comprised US$7,019 million in bilateral ODA, 56% of the total; US$2,900 million in European ODA, 23% of the total; and US$2,681 million in multilateral ODA, 21% of the total.[1]  France was the second largest donor in the world after the United States and Europe’s largest donor, closely followed by Germany and the United Kingdom.  The French ODA was 0.47% of its Gross National Income (GNI).[2]  Africa was the largest recipient of French ODA, in particular, sub-Saharan Africa.  In 2010, France achieved its objective of 0.50% of its GNI with a net ODA of US$12,915 million.[3]  It was the third largest donor after the United States and the United Kingdom.

France’s next objective is 0.70% of its GNI by 2015.[4]  This objective was adopted for the first time in 1970 by the United Nations and has been reaffirmed on numerous occasions.[5]  The European Council of Ministers repeated this commitment in June 2010.  However, it may be difficult to achieve this goal as stated in a recent parliamentary report.[6]

B.  Private Contribution Figures

A recent report prepared by the General Finance Inspection of the Ministry of Economy evaluates private aid at around €600 to €800 million (approximately US$840 million to US$1,120 million) a year.  The report notes that France does not have nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) or foundations similar in size to their British or American counterparts.  Some organizations are recognized at the international level—for example, Doctors Without Borders—but they generally are smaller organizations.  French foundations are generally undercapitalized and less oriented towards international actions.[7]  The report further states that an estimated €650 million (US$910 million) came from individual donors and €150 million (US$ 210 million) from companies.[8]

C.  Snapshot of Foreign Aid Activity

France is strongly committed to supporting development assistance and uses a broad range of approaches to achieve its objectives.  The 2011 framework document on France’s Cooperation and Development Policy states that

[t]o respond to the challenge of sustainable globalization and guarantee the major balances of our planet over the long run, French cooperation strategy focuses on four overarching objectives: foster sustainable and equitable growth for the poorest populations; combat poverty and inequality; preserve global public goods;[9] and ensure global stability and the rule of law.

In its search for comprehensive responses, France is working with all the resources at its disposal.  It is one of the few countries in the world to use not only the traditional tools of official development assistance but also long-term financial instruments, as well as an expanding array of innovative financing mechanisms.[10]

France provides aid at the bilateral, European and multilateral levels.  Bilateral agreements are seen as a “key component of France’s development cooperation.”[11]  They are flexible tools that permit the targeting of geographic areas and sectors that are viewed as priorities.  In addition, they may be entered into with a broad diversity of parties such as states, local authorities, foundations etc.[12]

In 1998, France created a “Priority Solidarity Zone” (Zone de Solidarité Prioritaire, ZSP) in order to focus French aid more closely on a limited number of countries.  The ZSP comprises fifty-five countries, including primarily the former French African colonies and other countries of sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Indochina, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, plus Afghanistan on a provisional basis.  France concentrates most of its bilateral aid on these countries.[13]  In 2004 France introduced a new tool, the Framework Partnership Document (document cadre de partenariat, DCP), that is designed to take into account the realities in the field in order to program aid.  The DCP is prepared for countries of the ZSP and aims at providing guidance for French cooperation over a period of five years.  Each DCP is negotiated locally under the authority of the ambassador and is cosigned by the local authorities and thereby “ensures greater predictability and facilitates more effective ownership by the partner country of cooperation actions.”[14]  The DCP specifies a limited number of sectors of concentration (generally two to three) that must normally account for 80% of the aid earmarked for the country.[15]

The French contribution to European aid represents more than half of its multilateral aid.  Half of this amount goes to the European Development Fund, which provides aid to countries from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.  The other half goes to other European aid programs including programs for emergency aid and other developing countries.  France substantially contributes to many non-European institutions, including the World Bank, other regional development banks, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  It also provides support to many other international institutions that fight climate change and famine, or promote education.[16]

France’s five priority sectors are education, health, sustainable development, agriculture and food security, and economic growth.  These sectors accounted for 56% of France’s total net ODA in 2008: education accounted for 17%, health 10%, agriculture and food security 7%, sustainable development 9%, and support for growth 13%.[17]

France concentrates its aid on two priority regions: sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean Basin.  Africa was the largest recipient of French ODA with 58% of net bilateral aid in 2009, and more specifically sub-Saharan Africa with 47%.  This aid reflects France’s strong historic ties with that continent.  In 2010, sub-Saharan Africa received €2.2 billion (US$ 3.08 billion) of aid.  The following fourteen priority poor countries—Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo—received €467 million (US$654 million) of the overall amount.[18]

Aid is principally distributed to economic and social sectors—in particular education, water, and sanitation—in Africa.  In February 2008, at Cape Town, President Sarkozy announced a new initiative to support economic growth in Africa.  This initiative supports the private sector and agricultural development, job-creating companies, the financial services sector, transportation and energy infrastructure, and regional integration.[19]

Aid to countries on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea constitutes approximately 20% of the budgetary amount appropriated.[20]  It focuses on the economy, employment, transportation, energy infrastructure, urban development, and water use policies.  Water issues have been especially critical due to its scarcity in that region.  France also assists its overseas territories in economic and social development.[21]

Fragile and crisis countries, in particular the Sahel (the transition zone along the southern Sahara Desert), the Middle East, and Afghanistan are also of concern to France.  In these countries, assistance focuses on crisis prevention.  Finally, France provides some assistance to emerging countries of systemic importance.  This assistance is geared towards cooperation, which is viewed as a “key to strengthening dialogue and preparing together international negotiations on common concerns.”[22]

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II.  Legal Framework

A.  Regulation of ODAs

1.  Overview

Institutional Organization

The strategic guidelines, objectives, and geographic focus of French foreign aid are set by the Inter-ministerial Committee on International Development Cooperation (Comité interministériel de la coopération internationale et du développement, CICID) as France does not have a single ministry in charge of foreign aid.  This Committee was created in 1998.[23]  It is chaired by the Prime Minister and comprises the twelve ministers more directly concerned with development assistance issues.  A representative of the President of the Republic attends the Committee meetings.[24]

Since its creation, the CICID has met nine times.  Its last meeting took place in June 2009.[25]  At that meeting, it was decided that France would give priority to five sectors: health, education and professional training, agriculture and food security, sustainable development and climate, and economic growth.  In addition, it was decided that an objective of 60% of France’s budgetary effort would be concentrated on the Sub-Saharan African countries.  A new geographic prioritization was also defined that resulted in four categories: priority poor countries comprising fourteen poor countries, intermediary income countries having specific relations with France, emerging countries with a global or regional dimension, and crisis or post-crisis countries.[26]

The CICID Secretariat is run jointly by the three ministries more specifically involved in setting forth and implementing cooperation policy: the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (more specifically by the Minister responsible for cooperation attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs); the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry; and the Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Solidarity Development.[27] 

The General Directorate for Global Affairs, Development and Partnership (Direction Générale de la Mondialisation, du Développement et des Partenariats, DGM) co-leads the CICID on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.  It is in charge of the strategic coordination and management of aid and is responsible for the following sectors: governance, global public good, research, higher education, United Nations multilateral funds, and some health funds.[28]

The General Directorate of the Treasury (Direction Générale du Trésor et des Politiques Economiques) co-leads for the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry.  It is responsible for issues relating to debt and monetary cooperation, relations with international financial institutions, cooperation with countries belonging to the Franc zone,[29] and financial cooperation and trade policies.[30]

The CICID secretariat meets about once a month with the French Agency for Development (Agence Française de Développement, ADF), which is France’s major implementing agency.[31]

Foreign Aid Objectives

French foreign aid policy has four main objectives:

  • To promote sustainable and equitable growth for the poorest countries
  • To cooperate with emerging countries—for example, Brazil and China—in order to better position France’s economic and strategic interests
  • To participate in the financing of European and multinational actions aimed at better dealing with global challenges
  • To help countries face crises resulting from either natural catastrophes or political and/or military conflicts[32]

In addition, regarding developing countries, France’s aid is geared towards meeting four additional challenges:

  • To promote growth that creates jobs and improves living standards
  • To fight poverty and reduce inequality in line with France’s commitments to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development)
  • To help the preservation of global public goods by managing climate change, biodiversity loss, and the spread of infectious diseases, and by improving financial stability
  • To promote stability and the rule of law[33]

Limits on Recipients

The principles that guide French external action, such as “the right of peoples to self-determination, respect for human rights and democratic principles, [and] respect for the rule of law and cooperation among nations,” bar transactions with hostile states.[34]  In addition, as a member of the European Union (EU), France is bound by the Treaty of Lisbon.  The Treaty sets forth similar principles guiding the external action of the EU on the international scene.  These principles include democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, equality and solidarity, and respect for the principles stated in the United Nations Charter and by international law.  The Treaty further states that the EU must seek to develop relations with third countries that share the principles listed above, therefore, discouraging development aid to hostile states that do not foster such principles.[35]

2.  Restrictions

In 2001, the OECD Development Assistance Committee recommended that bilateral aid to the least developed countries (LCDs) be “untied.”  OECD defines “tied aid” as “official grants or loans that limit procurement to companies in the donor country or in a small group of countries.”[36]  In 2006, the Paris Declaration reaffirmed this recommendation on the ground that it increases aid efficiency, particularly by significantly reducing its cost and improving country ownership.  Country ownership is one of the five principles of the Paris Declaration.  The OECD 2001 recommendation was amended in 2008 to include the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs).[37]

France has untied aid beyond the OECD recommendations.  It extended the recommendation to non-LCD countries and to food aid.  It has now untied up to 91% of its total aid.[38]  This percentage is higher in the case of ADF, France’s leading implementing agency for ODA, which untied 100% of its aid for all sectors and countries.[39]

3.  Policy Considerations

France gives priority to development aid to countries that organize democratic elections on a regular basis, respect human rights, fight corruption, and have public policies that benefit their most needy populations.  It views a sound political base as a prerequisite for successful development programs and promotes democratic governance through cooperation actions in many developing countries while respecting the sovereignty of these countries.  France’s strategic cooperation priorities include promoting democratic governance at the state, regional, and local authority levels; the rule of law and individual freedoms; gender equality; and the transparency of public actions.[40]  The 2011 framework document on France’s Cooperation and Development Policy reiterates the above in the following statement:

France makes the promotion of individual rights, the rule of law and governance a core strand of its cooperation policy and considers them to be part and parcel of the political dialogue on the formulation and implementation of development strategies.  This priority is grounded on the fact that governance is a critical dimension of the political fate of societies and their economic emergence.  However, support for good governance comes up against the limits, encountered by any outside party, of noninterference in the political and social balance of a sovereign country.[41]

In addition, it is France’s policy to jointly explore with the recipient state what its needs and priorities are and, if possible, to involve the population at large as further stated in the 2011 framework document:

The effectiveness of cooperation policies and actions strongly depends on their responsiveness to citizens’ needs.  Inter-state dialogue is naturally the prime framework for government cooperation policy, but the population at large must also become increasingly involved.  France will thus systematically mainstream the participation of partner countries’ citizens and civil society into its bilateral actions and promote this at [the] European and multilateral level, whether it is translated by the partner government involving citizens upstream in the framing of public policies, or in the management, monitoring and evaluation of the actions supported.[42]

4.  Discretionary Aid

As described in details in Part III of this report (“Foreign Aid Appropriations Process”), appropriations allocated to a program listed in France’s annual budget law may be reallocated between subprograms within a program by its managers for a more flexible management of appropriations.  These managers are accountable to their Ministry, which in turn is accountable to Parliament.  The management of each program must respect the set of objectives and performance indicators set forth in the Annual Performance Plans prepared for each programs.[43]

5.  Oversight

Oversight of the Budget by Parliament and the National Audit Court

Once the budget is passed, Parliament has some supervisory control over its implementation.  The National Assembly and Senate Finance Committees monitor the efficiency of public expenses and evaluate any public finance issue.  The National Assembly has also set forth a monitoring and evaluation task force charged to control the use of public funds.  Parliamentary control also takes the form of a budget review law that needs to be adopted by June 1 of the year following the applicable budget year.  An Annual Performance Plan is provided to Parliament for each program.  In addition, the National Audit Court publishes two important public reports for Parliament each year: the annual report on the situation of public finances and the annual report on performance.  Parliament may also request that France’s National Audit Court conduct specific investigations.[44]

Efficiency Requirements

The concept of ODA effectiveness emerged within the context of the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in September 2000[45] and the substantial increase in ODA pledges made during the International Conference on Financing for Development held in March 2002 in Monterrey.[46]  Further steps to promote ODA effectiveness were taken during the Paris Conference in 2005.[47]  It was recognized that fragmentation of aid impairs aid effectiveness, whereas a pragmatic approach to burden sharing increases complementarity and can reduce transaction costs.  A Declaration referred to as the Paris Declaration was adopted during the Conference.  It lays out five core principles aimed at improving effectiveness.  They are as follows:

  • Ownership: Developing countries set their own strategies for poverty reduction, improve their institutions and tackle corruption.
  • Alignment: Donor countries align behind these objectives and use local systems.
  • Harmonisation: Donor countries coordinate, simplify procedures and share information to avoid duplication.
  • Results: Developing countries and donors shift focus to development results and results get measured.
  • Mutual accountability: Donors and partners are accountable for development results.[48]

In 2007, France transposed the Paris Declaration into a French Action Plan, which encompasses the different fundamental principles of the Declaration.  The Action Plan is built around twelve priorities that focus on capacity building, the expanded role of Partnership Framework Documents, and the improvement of the practices of French cooperation, in particular with regard to the predictability and complementarity of donor interventions.  Each priority is further broken down into actions and implementation modalities.[49]  In 2008, the Ministry of Economy published an evaluation of the implementation of the Paris Declaration by France.  It showed that the levels of implementation varied depending on the principle evaluated.[50]  In 2009, the CICID made recommendations for updating the Action Plan structure to take into account the renewed commitments undertaken at the European and international levels (i.e., adoption of the EU Code of Conduct on Division of Labor and the ACCRA Agenda for Action, discussed below) and their operational implications for the French cooperation system.[51]

The EU Code of Conduct on Complementarity and Division of Labour in Development Policy, adopted in 2007, is expected to improve the implementation of the EU Cooperation policy.  The Code sets forth “eleven principles designed to reduce the administrative formalities, to use the funds where they are most needed, to pool aid and to share the work to deliver more, better and faster aid.”[52]  The Code is voluntary, flexible and self-policing.[53]

Finally, at a Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness organized by OECD and hosted by the Government of Ghana in Accra, developed and developing countries agreed on the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA).  AAA calls on both countries and donors to continue their efforts to reduce fragmentation and improve the division of labor.[54]

B.  Regulation of Private Contributions

The General Tax Code provides for a number of tax incentives for private contributions.  Donations by individuals made to certain officially approved institutions, public interest institutions, and charitable organizations, if these donees are located in the EU, Norway, or Iceland, give rise to a tax credit equal to 66% of the donations within a limit of 20% of the taxpayer’s total income.[55]  In addition, donations to organizations providing care for persons in hardship (food, lodging, and health care) may give rise to a tax credit equal to 75% of the donation with a maximum of €521 (US$730) for donations made in 2011.  Where the donations exceed 20% of the taxpayer’s income in a given year, the excess is carried forward over the next five years and gives rise to a tax credit under the same conditions.[56]

If the taxpayer is subject to the net wealth tax, he can deduct 75% of his donation within a limit of €50,000 (US$70,000).[57]  In addition, donations are not subject to estate tax.

Donations made by corporations to nonprofit organizations benefit from a tax reduction of up to 60% of the amount of the donation, up to a maximum of 0.05% of their French-source revenues.[58]  Donations exceeding the above limitation may be carried forward for five years.  Foreign organizations similar to French nonprofit organizations located within the EU or the EU Economic Area have been entitled to such donations since January 1, 2010.  An approval from the French tax authorities is required, however.

The report prepared by the General Finance Inspection of the Ministry of Economy, mentioned above, lists several recommendations for promoting private contributions to development assistance.  They include clarification of the existing tax rules, an evaluation of the effectiveness of such rules, providing better information to private donors using the German model, acquiring a greater knowledge of private aid and better monitoring it, rethinking the help the state can provide to private donors, politically valorizing private assistance, accelerating the integration of the various European policies on foreign aid, establishing a legal framework for European associations and foundations, and facilitating new ways of giving.[59] 

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III.  Foreign Aid Appropriations Process

Each autumn, the government presents its draft Finance Law (projet de loi de finances) for the upcoming year.  Part one of this document summarizes the state’s resources and authorizes the raising of taxes while part two states the amounts appropriated for each of the state policy missions.[60]  Following a recent reform, expenditure-oriented budgets have been replaced by a budget presented in the form of major public policies called “missions.”[61]  Each mission comprises a set of programs with their own specific objectives and performance targets.  Programs are further broken down into subprograms (actions).  This breakdown into subprograms is only advisory and for guidance only.  Parliament debates and votes on the missions and the programs within the mission.[62]  Each program has a clearly identified coordinator(s).  The program coordinator may reallocate appropriations between subprograms or types of expenditures within a program (with the exception of personnel expenditures) for a more flexible management of the appropriations.[63]  The draft budget law is examined by Parliament and approved within seventy days of its submission.[64]

The Official Development Assistance Mission comprises twenty-three programs for 2011 with three of them accounting for most of the budget appropriations regarding the cooperation policy.  They are as follows:

  • Program 110: Economic and Financial Aid for Development, under the Ministry of Economy and Finance.  This program is the major financial instrument to fight poverty in the world.  Most of the funds are directed to multinational development institutions, primarily the International Development Association, which is the World Bank fund for the poorest and the African Fund for Development.  Other funds that receive some aid include the Asian Development Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund, and the Inter-American Development Bank’s Fund for Special Operations.  The program also comprises macroeconomic aids and partly deals with the treatment of the debt of poor countries.
  • Program 209: Solidarity with Developing Countries, under the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.  This program covers bilateral and multilateral aid.  Multilateral aid mainly covers contributions to the European Development Fund, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, and voluntary contributions to various United Nations bodies.
  • Program 301: Co-development and Migration, under the Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Solidarity Development.  The aim of this program is to link migration and development policy in order to facilitate the management of migratory flows.  France promotes a policy of supportive development with countries of origin within the framework of agreements for the concerted management of migratory flows.  Countries that agree to enter into such agreements with France receive ODA preferential treatment.  This program also covers aid granted to encourage immigrants to leave France and voluntarily return to their countries of origin.  Program 301 represents a small part of the total aid for the Official Development Assistance Mission.[65]

There are some other ODA expenditures that can be found in the budget outside of the Official Development Assistance Mission.  They are part of other missions and programs whose resources are only partly earmarked for development assistance.  They include budget missions such as External Action of the State, Research and Higher Education, Immigration, Asylum and Integration, and Defense and Security.  The training of police or gendarmerie forces in developing countries, for example, accounts for a small percentage of the program for the gendarmerie, which is under the Defense and Security Mission.[66]

Parliament receives a great deal of information on the expenditure determinants.  Annual Performance Plans for each mission are attached to the budget proposal.  For each program in a mission they set forth the amount to be appropriated, the targets to be met, a cost analysis, the performance indicators, and results obtained in the previous year and expected for the following year.[67]  A crosscutting policy document entitled “France’s Policy for Development” is also attached to the draft budget.  This document presents a synthesis of all the programs that contribute to France’s cooperation policy, its coherence, a comprehensive strategy for performance improvement, and the budgetary resources required.  The policy document identifies the programs and the ministries that contribute fully or partly to France’s cooperation policy.[68]

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IV. Implementing Agencies

A.  French Development Agency

The main implementing agency for foreign aid is the French Development Agency (Agence Francaise de Developpement, AFD), a public establishment created in 1998.  Its status is defined by the Monetary and Financial Code.[69]  It replaces the Central Fund for Economic Cooperation, which operated as a bank and provided loans.  AFD is both a public establishment in charge of implementing France’s policy in matters of development assistance and a development bank.  It is principally monitored by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Ministry of Economy.  In fact, the Ministry of Economy plays a particularly important role due to the financial establishment status of the AFD.  The French State owns AFD capital.[70] 

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is also directly responsible for the allocations of development funds in some areas.  There is a division of tasks between AFD and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.  AFD concentrates on reducing poverty, promoting economic development, and preserving public global goods.  The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is directly responsible for promoting the rule of law, institutional reform, education, and cultural and scientific cooperation.[71]

AFD employs approximately 1,900 persons.  Most of its activity is exercised abroad through its network of in-country field offices and bureaus located in developing countries, emerging countries, and the French Overseas Territories.[72]  Its governing board of directors comprises sixteen members including six representatives from the French state; two deputies from the National Assembly; one senator; five members chosen for their expertise in economic, financial, or environmental and sustainable issues; and two employee-elected members.[73]

To fulfill its missions, AFD receives public development funds from its supervisory ministries, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, and the Ministry of Immigration.  In addition, AFD finances itself through bonds issued in international capital markets and private placement.[74]  AFD has a subsidiary, PROPARCO (Promotion et Participation pour la Cooperation Economique), that encourages private sector investment to promote growth and sustainable development.[75]

AFD uses a broad range of financial instruments to meet the specific needs of the receiving countries.  They include, for example, subsidized long-term loans, grants, and environmental credit lines to banks to encourage them to make loans that will benefit the environment.  The French State mandates the geographic areas where AFD operates, mainly sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and South America.[76]  Finally, AFD manages the French Global Environment Fund on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.[77]

B.  France Expertise Internationale

France Expertise Internationale (FEI) was created by Law 2010-873 of July 27, 2010, on External Action of the State[78] and an implementing Decree of February 25, 2011.[79]  It replaces France Cooperation Internationale, which was established by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in 2002.  FEI is a public agency that promotes French technical assistance and expertise abroad.  It is supervised by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.  It carries out the engineering and management of projects financed by the state, local authorities, the EU, multilateral donors, and foreign states in this field.  FEI acts either as an implementing agency or in support of a contracting authority for projects its donors or clients have entrusted to it by direct agreement or following a competitive bidding process.[80]

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V.  Other Types of ‘Aid’

A.    Emergency Aid

The main financial instrument used to meet emergency humanitarian situations is the Emergency Humanitarian Fund (Fonds d’urgence humanitaire).  In addition to the funds appropriated by the annual Finance Law, the Fund may receive additional contributions from local authorities, individuals, and corporations.[81]  It finances various types of actions:

  • Direct actions, including shipments of food, medicine, shelter, etc.
  • Funding actions implemented through the French Embassy and/or Consulates
  • Funding actions implemented by NGOs
  • Exceptional contributions to international bodies (e.g., UNICEF, WHO)[82]

Humanitarian action is also indirectly funded through France’s contributions to the EU budget, which support the activities of the European Commission–Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection.[83]

B.  College Scholarships to Foreign Students

Supporting education for developing countries is a major priority for France.[84]  Approximately 260,000 foreign students receive higher education at almost no charge in France each year.[85]  France also has decided to promote universal primary education and equal access to education for girls and boys between 2010 and 2015, as 75% of illiterate persons worldwide are women.[86]  It contributes to the Fast Track Initiative, a partnership of donors and developing countries, multilateral institutions, the private sector, and civil society organizations that want all children around the world to receive a quality education.[87]

France concentrates its education aid on the fourteen priority poor countries and some moderate income African countries with which it has close ties.[88]

C.  Foreign Remittances

France supports migrant remittances to developing countries.  France took several actions to facilitate these transactions, including lowering transfer costs, promoting more flexible regulations for the transfers, and creating certain types of savings accounts benefiting from a favorable tax treatment where the migrants invest in productive development in their country of origin.[89] 

D.  Debt Relief

In the highly indebted countries (HIPCs), France uses a debt reduction process by signing Debt-reduction and Development Contracts (contrats de désendettement-développement, C2D), which make it possible for beneficiary states to channel budgetary savings from debt cancellation into spending aimed at reducing poverty.[90]  This approach concerns the bilateral ODA debt that is owed to France even after France’s assistance under the enhanced HIPC initiative.  This initiative was launched by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to ensure that no poor country faces a debt it cannot manage.[91]

Under a C2D the debtor continues to service the remaining ODA debt, but France refinances the same amount through grants.  The grant money is then allocated to poverty reduction programs that have been selected by joint agreement between France and the receiving country—generally basic education, primary health care, infrastructure, rural development, and natural resource management.[92]

E.  Innovative Financing

In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/65/146 on innovative mechanisms of financing for development.  Innovative financing is aimed at supplementing traditional ODA.  The international community has been urged to develop new sources of financing to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  France has been involved in this debate from its beginning.  It hosts the permanent secretariat of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing.  This group is the main forum for the discussion of innovative financing.  It comprises fifty-nine countries and works with the main international organizations, including the World Bank, World Health Organization, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, and nongovernmental organizations.[93]

Some of the main proposals that have been implemented are as follows:

  • UNITAID: This international drug purchase facility was created in 2006 by Brazil, Chile, France, Norway, and the United Kingdom.  It is funded in particular by a tax on airline tickets adopted by eleven countries including France.  UNITAID’s mission is to centralize the purchase of medicines to obtain the best possible price primarily for people located in poor countries in order to treat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.[94]
  • International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm): IFFIm was created in 2006 by France and the United Kingdom.  It is an initiative that raises capital to be managed by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) in order to increase access to immunization in developing countries.[95]
  • Advance Market Commitment (AMC): An Advanced Market Commitment is a binding agreement between a government or a financial institution and a pharmaceutical company under which a certain amount of funding is given to such company to finance research for vaccines against specific diseases causing high mortality in developing countries.[96]

Additional initiatives are being considered or are already underway.  France, for example, supports a tax of 0.005% on financial transactions to fund either food security, education, health, or the fight against climate.  Another available mechanism, referred to as Debt2Health, allows a donor to cancel publicly-held debt if the recipient government transfers to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria an equivalent amount, which is then used by the Fund to increase its health spending in that country.[97]

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Prepared by Nicole Atwill
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
September 2011


[1] ODA by Donor, OECD.Statextracts, http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DatasetCode=ODA_DONOR (select France in “Donor” field, then select Net Disbursements in “Flow type” field) (last visited Aug. 8, 2011); Strategy 2011–Development Cooperation: A French Vision, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes 61, 62, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/IMG/pdf/Doc_Cadre_ANG_2011.pdf (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[2] GNI is “the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) less net taxes on production and imports, less compensation of employees and property income payable to the rest of the world plus the corresponding items receivable from the rest of the world.”  Glossary of Statistical Terms: Gross National Income (GNI), OECD, http://stats.oecd.org/ glossary/detail.asp?ID=1176 (last updated Mar. 5, 2003).

[3] ODA by Donor, OECD.Statextracts, supra note 1; Strategy 2011–Development Cooperation: A French Vision, supra note 1.

[4] Enjeux Internationaux, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, http://www.diplomatie. gouv.fr/fr/entrees-thematiques_830/index.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[5] Rapport 2857 fait au nom de la Commission des Finances, de l’Economie Generale et du Controle budgetaire sur le projet de loi de finances pour 2011 at 11,12 (Oct. 14, 2010), http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/13/pdf/budget/plf2011/b2857-tIII-a5.pdf.

[6] Id.

[8] Id. at 4.

[9] “Global public goods include peace and security, fair international trade rules, control of communicable diseases, financial stability, prevention of climate change, and information and knowledge.”  Uma Lele et. al, The Changing Aid Architecture: Can Global Initiatives Eradicate Poverty?, http://www.oecd.org/data oecd/47/13/24482500.pdf (last visited Aug. 18, 2011).  For additional information, see Global Public Goods, Global Policy Forum, http://www.globalpolicy.org/social-and-economic-policy/global-public-goods-1-101.html (last visited Aug. 18, 2011); Global Economy: Global Public Goods, The World Bank, http://web.worldbank. org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTABOUTUS/0,,contentMDK:20627295~pagePK:51123644~piPK:329829~theSite
PK:29708,00.html
(last visited Aug. 18, 2011).

[10] Strategy 2011–Development Cooperation: A French Vision, supra note 1, at 4. 

[11] Id. at 27.

[12] Id. at 27, 28.

[13] Aide au Développement et Gouvernance Démocratique: Zone de Solidarité Prioritaire, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/actions-france_830/aide-au-developpement_1060/zone-solidarite-prioritaire_6119.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[14] Strategy 2011–Development Cooperation: A French Vision, supra note 1, at 56.

[15] Id.

[16] Dispositifs et enjeux de l’aide au développement: Politique française et européenne pour le développement, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/actions-france_830/aide-au-developpement_1060/aide-au-developpement_20515/politique-francaise-europeenne-pour-developpement_13129.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[17] Strategy 2011–Development Cooperation: A French Vision, supra note 1, at 62.

[18] Id. at 7, 8, 62, 63.

[19] Speech by M. Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, to the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa (Cape Town, Feb. 28, 2008), available at http://www.ambafrance-uk.org/President-Sarkozy-s-speech-to-the.

[20] Strategy 2011–Development Cooperation: A French Vision, supra note 1, at 8.

[21] Id.

[22] Id.

[23] Décret 98-66 du 4 février 1998 portant création du comite interministériel de la coopération internationale et du développement [Decree 98-66 of February 4, 1998, creating the Inter-Ministerial Committee on International Development Cooperation], available at Legifrance, http://legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte. do;jsessionid=F2CC352458333EDC6AF17FB3EB974465.tpdjo12v_2?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000000753609
&dateTexte=20110729
.

[24] Id. art. 2.

[25] Le Dispositif Institutionnel Français: CICID Juin 2009–Relevé de Conclusions, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/actions-france_830/aide-au-developpement_1060/politique-francaise_3024/dispositif-institutionnel_5155/cicid_5171/cicid-juin-2009_74507.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[26] Id.

[27] Décret 98-66 du 4 février 1998 art. 6.

[28] Le Dispositif Institutionnel Français: Introduction, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/actions-france_830/aide-au-developpement_1060/institutions-francaises_19758/dispositif-institutionnel-francais_19759/index.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[29] After they attained their independence from France, many Saharan and sub-Saharan African countries retained the name “Franc” for their own monetary units.  These countries became members of the Franc Zone as their currencies were linked to the French Franc.  Since France adopted the Euro, these currencies have been linked to the Euro.  See “Franc Zone,” Encyclopædia Britannica (online academic ed. 2011), http://www.britannica .com/EBchecked/topic/215756/Franc-Zone.

[30] Le Dispositif Institutionnel Français: Introduction, supra note 28.

[31] Id.

[32] Dispositifs et enjeux de l’aide au développement: Politique Française et Européenne pour le Développement, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, http://www.diplomatie. gouv.fr/fr/actions-france_830/aide-au-developpement_1060/aide-au-developpement_20515/politique-francaise-europeenne-pour-developpement_13129.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[33] Id.

[34] France’s Foreign Policy: Principles, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/france_159/france-in-the-world_6820/france-foreign-policy_6904/ principles_1403.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).  

[35] Consolidated Versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union art. 21, 2010 O.J. (C 83) 1, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010: 083:FULL:EN:PDF (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[36] Untying Aid: The Right to Choose, OECD, Development Co-operation Directorate, http://www.oecd.org/document/50/0,3746,en_2649_33721_46345330_1_1_1_1,00.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[37] Id.

[38] Id.

[39] L’aide publique au développement dispensée par l’ADF est déliée, Agence Française de Développement, http://www.afd.fr/site/afd/lang/fr/DeliementAidePublique (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[40] Gouvernance Democratique: L’approche française, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/entrees-thematiques_830/aide-au-developpement-gouvernance-democratique_1060/gouvernance-democratique_1053/index.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011); Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, Governance Strategy for French Development Assistance (2007), http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/IMG/pdf/StrategieAngMAE.pdf.

[41] Strategy 2011–Development Cooperation: A French Vision, supra note 1, at 33. 

[42] Id. at 34.

[43] Loi de Finance et Lois de Financement à l’Assemblée Nationale (updated as of Aug. 31, 2010), http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/connaissance/lois_finances_lois_financement/lois_finances_financement_ actualisee.pdf.

[44] L’évaluation des politiques publiques, Assemblée Nationale (Nov. 2009), http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/connaissance/fiches_synthese/fiche_51.asp.

[45] We Can end Poverty 2015: Millennium Development Goals, United Nations, http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ (last visited Aug. 24, 2011).

[46] International Conference on Financing for Development (Mar. 18–22, 2002, Monterrey, Mexico), United Nations, http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/ffdconf/.

[47] Cohérence et efficacité de l’aide: Introduction, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/actions-france_830/aide-au-developpement_1060/dispositifs-enjeux-aide-au-developpement_20515/enjeux-du-developpement_19986/coherence-efficacite-aide_19988/index.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011); Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, Déclaration de Paris sur l’éfficacité de L’aide au développement (Feb. 28–Mar. 2, 2005), http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/ IMG/pdf/Declaration_de_Paris_2005.pdf.

[48] Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action, OECD, Development Co-operation Directorate, http://www.oecd.org/document/18/0%2C2340%2Cen_2649_3236398_35401554_1_1_1_1%2C00.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[49] Agence Française pour le Développement, Plan d’Action Française pour l’Efficacité de l’Aide (June 2007), http://www.afd.fr/jahia/webdav/site/afd/shared/ELEMENTS_COMMUNS/AFD/Efficacite%20 Aide/PlanAction-EfficaciteAide.pdf.

[50] Ministère de l’Economie, Evaluation of the Implementation of the Declaration of Paris by France–2008/2, http://www2.economie.gouv.fr/directions_services/dgtpe/publi/eval_declar_paris0809_en.pdf (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[51] Le Dispositif Institutionnel Français: CICID Juin 2009–Relevé de Conclusions, supra note 25.

[52] European Union Code of Conduct on Division of Labour in Development Policy, Europa, http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/development/general_development_framework/r13003_en.htm (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[53] Id.

[54] The Accra High Level Forum (HLF3) and the Accra Agenda for Action, OECD, Development Co-operation Directorate, http://www.oecd.org/document/3/0,3343,en_2649_3236398_41297219_1_1_1_1,00.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[55] Code General des Impots art. 200, available at Legifrance, http://legifrance.gouv.fr/ (Les codes en vigueur).

[56] Id.

[57] Id. art. 885-0 V bis A.

[58] Id. art. art. 238 bis.

[59] Rapport 2009-M.089-02, supra note 7.

[60] Loi de Finance et Lois de Financement à l’Assemblée Nationale at 12–14 (updated as of Aug. 31, 2010), http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/connaissance/lois_finances_lois_financement/lois_finances_financement_ actualisee.pdf.

[61] Id.

[62] Id. at 129, 130.

[63] Id.

[64] Id. at 88.

[65] Strategy 2011–Development Cooperation: A French Vision, supra note 1, at 57, 58; Rapport 2857, supra note 5.

[66] Strategy 2011–Development Cooperation: A French Vision, supra note 1, at 58.

[67] Id. at 55, 56.

[68] Id. 

[69] Code Monétaire et Financier arts. R.516-3 to R.516-20.

[70] Cour des Comptes, La place et le Rôle de l’Agence Française de Développement (AFD) dans l’Aide Publique au Développement, http://www.ccomptes.fr/fr/CC/documents/divers/58_2_agence_ francaise_developpement.pdf (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[71] Le Dispositif Institutionnel Français: Introduction, supra note 28.

[72] Agence Française de Développement, ADF 2010 Annual Report 6, http://www.afd.fr/ webdav/site/afd/shared/PUBLICATIONS/Colonne-droite/Rapport-annuel-AFD-VA.pdf.

[73] Code Monetaire et Financier art. R 516-13.

[74] Agence Française de Développement, supra note 72, at 17.

[75] Id. at 20.

[76] Id. at 4.

[77] Le Dispositif Institutionnel Français: Introduction, supra note 28.

[78] Loi 2010-873 du 27 juillet 2010 relative a l’action exterieure de L’Etat [Law 2010-873 of July 27, 2010, on External Action of the State], Legifrance, http://legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT0000 22521532&fastPos=1&fastReqId=1217444084&categorieLien=id&oldAction=rechTexte.

[79] Décret n° 2011-212 du 25 février 2011 relatif à France expertise internationale [Decree 2011-212 of February 25, 2011 on France Expertise Internationale], Legifrance, http://legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte. do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000023631691&fastPos=1&fastReqId=1810359409&categorieLien=id&oldAction=rechTexte.

[80] Id. art. 2.

[81] L’Etat: Le Fonds d’urgence humanitaire, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/actions-france_830/action-humanitaire-urgence_1039/acteurs-francais_2379/etat_2389/fonds-urgence-humanitaire_4241.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[82] Id.

[83] Background & Mandate, European Commission–Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, http://ec.europa.eu/echo/about/what/history_en.htm (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[84] Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, French Internal Action for Education in Developing Countries 2010–2015, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/IMG/pdf/Education_in_ developing_countries_en.pdf (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[85] Strategy 2011–Development Cooperation: A French Vision, supra note 1, at 36.

[86] Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, supra note 84.

[87] Id.

[88] Id.

[89] Strategy 2011–Development Cooperation: A French Vision, supra note 1, at 22, 36.

[90] Mettre en place les contrats de désendettement et de développement: Présentation, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/entrees-thematiques_830/aide-au-developpement_1060/gouvernance-democratique_1053/gouvernance-financiere_17823/mettre-place-les-contrats-desendettement-developpement_20473/index.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[92] Mettre en place les contrats de désendettement et de développement: Présentation, supra note 90.

[93] Innovative Financing for Development-France ONU, Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations, http://franceonu.org/spip.php?article4365 (last visited Aug. 8, 2011); Innovative Ways to Fund Development, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Europèennes, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/france-priorities_1/development-and-humanitarian-action_2108/innovative-ways-to-fund-development_2109/index.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[94] Mission, UNITAID, http://www.unitaid.eu/en/about/mission-mainmenu-89.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[95] Overview, IFFIm, http://www.iffim.org/about/overview/ (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

[96] Advanced Market Commitments for Vaccines, World Health Organization (July 19, 2006), http://www.who.int/immunization/newsroom/amcs/en/index.html.

[97] Debt2Health, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, http://www.theglobal fund.org/en/innovativefinancing/debt2health/?lang=en (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).

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Last Updated: 06/09/2015