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French overseas aid reshuffled after budget cuts

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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

French overseas aid reshuffled after budget cuts

The new French legislation on development aid policy aims to create a unique structure to oversee the country's international technical expertise. Budget cuts mean government will shift emphasis to “coherence and efficiency,” EurActiv France reports.
The new act on "development policy and international solidarity" was passed by a large majority in the French Senate on May 27. The law, which had already been approved by Parliament in February, outlines French policies on development at a time when public funding for development aid is under great financial pressure.
In 2010, French development aid fell by almost 10% according to figures published by the OECD's Development Assistance Committee. The downward trend is unlikely to change this year, as the French state maintains efforts to cut spending.
The new law contains no mention of the budgetary framework, something that has drawn criticism from many members of the National Assembly, the French Parliament. The law adopted by the Senate focuses on priority countries where France sends most of its aid - mostly Sub-Saharan and North African countries, which will receive 85% of French development aid.
The big thematic priorities, like tackling poverty and inequalities, climate change, promoting peace, human rights and gender equality, are all featured in the new law.
One novelty will consist in easing the transfer of money from the diaspora workers in France back to developing countries. "Diaspora remittances are a major source of external financing for developing countries," Girardin explained.
What the Senate vote really brings to the table are reforms in France's international technical expertise, which "will be rationalised," Girardin said. Numerous French ministries currently use experts to advise them on international affairs. In total, approximately 200 people in 20 offices provide technical expertise on developing countries. These experts will be grouped together into the same structure as of January 2015.

Source: Euractiv