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France: Macron moving forward with new aid policy

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Thursday, 13 September 2018

France: Macron moving forward with new aid policy

It’s been an eventful end to the summer in French development, as President Emmanuel Macron begins to push his vision for aid. Addressing ambassadors in Paris at the end of last month, Macron called for a new law to encapsulate his development agenda, saying he wanted to foster “solidarity investment” [“investissement solidaire”], including more partnerships with civil society, youth, business, and diasporas, and more money for ambassadors to support local initiatives. Those points were among the recommendations in a government-commissioned report delivered the previous week by Hervé Berville, a member of parliament from Macron’s La République En Marche party. Then, last Monday, the French aid agency, Agence Française de Développement, issued its strategic plan for 2018-2022, as French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced France would quadruple its grant assistance to €1.3 billion ($1.51 billion) in 2019 to better reach 19 priority countries in Africa. That move drew praise from civil society, though Friederike Röder, EU and France director at ONE, argued “we shouldn’t get too excited.” Röder said despite being one of the world’s major aid donors with a long-proclaimed interest in the world’s poorest countries in Francophone Africa, “France up until now only has €300 million in bilateral grants, which is ridiculous.” “It’s about responding to the paradox of French development policy,” Le Drian told reporters. “Without margin of maneuver, in recent years, it was often solvent countries that were the beneficiaries of our aid, and this [strategy] is about completely re-orientating that logic.”

Source: devex.com