The National Assembly (illustrative image).


Jacques Witt / SIPA

The National Assembly, unanimous, adopted this Tuesday in first reading the programming bill for French official development assistance (ODA), expected to increase and refocused on Africa and Haiti.

At the end of this first reading, the deputies supported this consensual bill by 502 votes in favor and 41 abstentions, coming from the Communists, the rebels and the RN.

He is now expected in the Senate.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian hailed "a very good signal" and a "turning point", thanks to "reinforced means" and "revised methods".

A "French doctrine"

This text materializes Emmanuel Macron's commitment to increase official development assistance (ODA) to 0.55% of gross national income (GNI) at the end of the five-year term in 2022, against 0.37% when he arrived in the Elysee.

It redefines the "French doctrine" in terms of ODA, when some criticized France for "sprinkling and not being very readable", underlines LREM deputy Valérie Thomas.

The “sectoral priorities” - fight against poverty, health, climate, education and equality between women and men - “and geographic”, with nineteen priority countries ”are“ very clearly ”displayed: eighteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti, adds the "walker".

Aid on the rise

The opposition on the right and on the left has mainly criticized the "delay" of this programming law, which will ultimately concern "only the year 2022", regret Bérengère Poletti (LR) or Clémentine Autain (LFI).

“Most of the delay is due to Covid-19.

And that did not prevent us from increasing the appropriations each year, "LREM reporter Hervé Berville replied to AFP.

French ODA reached 10.9 billion euros in 2019, 12.8 billion in 2020 and will continue to increase this year, when a country like the United Kingdom will cut its aid to around 10 billion pounds (11, 1 billion euros) in 2021, due to the financial impact of the pandemic.

To confirm this increase, the deputies also enshrined in the law that France “will endeavor” in “2025” to devote “0.7% of its gross national income” to ODA.

Return "ill-gotten gains"

Another addition: the Assembly voted in favor of a mechanism aimed at "restoring" to the "populations", in the form of development projects, the assets confiscated by the French courts in cases known as "ill-gotten gains" of leaders. foreigners, especially Africans.

"This is a real step forward", rejoices the NGO Transparency International, but we must "ensure that the funds do not fall into the circuits of corruption".

France has long been a preferred destination for the purchase of these luxury goods by foreign leaders or their relatives, against a background of suspicion of theft of public money for private purposes.

Finally, the general philosophy of this reform of ODA is to favor grants over loans, in order to avoid making countries already in debt more vulnerable.


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