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Development assistance

Published on July 8, 2014
Article by Mme Annick Girardin, Minister of State for Development and Francophony, published in the La Croix newspaper

Paris, July 4, 2014

How can the drop in development assistance be compensated for?

I completely acknowledge the fact that Official Development Assistance decreased last year. Yet we needn’t be ashamed of our efforts. French people are generous and show solidarity with the most disadvantaged countries. But they want their assistance to be effective.

French development assistance remains, in percentage terms, above average for a developed country. The goal of 0.7% of GDP devoted to development is written into the new development and international solidarity act. We are at present unable to achieve this goal. The economic crisis is forcing us to make a number of financial efforts. Everyone can understand this.

That said, the observed drop in assistance needs to be put in perspective. France still stands alongside the weakest countries. Last year we increased our support to the least advanced countries, all in Africa, by 32%. Fifteen – not 10 – percent of the financial transaction tax’s revenue will go to development assistance this year. The plane ticket levy has been increased. Finally, the drop in assistance is also explained by the ending of the poorest countries’ debt cancellations.

I am convinced we can do better with less money. The budget situation compels us to innovate too: Emmanuel Faber and Jay Naidoo’s report, which I have been given, suggests seeking coalitions of stakeholders.
NGOs, for example, could be encouraged to build, thanks to private partnerships, a momentum of activity. Trust must be fostered between these NGOs and companies. The former can bring their knowledge of the area, of the citizens and of the area’s difficulties; the latter bring their professionalism, their effectiveness and their production and distribution network.

The state, for its part, provides the spark and takes the initial risk, particularly in the territories where no one invests. In this model, everyone can find their role. Distrust must disappear. Companies are capable of seeking sustainable development. NGOs know how to manage money and be accountable. This is why we have decided to move towards doubling the funding envelope for NGO projects, as the President pledged to do./.

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