Macron’s Missing Millions: Struggle to Find Promised Cash on Development

Written by | Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

The French budget dedicated to international development assistance is expected to go up by half a billion euro over the next three years but Paris estimates that in reality 6.4 billion euro will be needed by 2022. This year only the French government is going to boost the budget by 100 million euro and in 2018 the development budget will amount to 2.7 billion euro. For 2019 and 2020, Paris also expects small increases of 100 million and 300 million euro.

During the presidency of François Hollande, French development assistance to developing countries has fallen from 0.42% of gross national income (GNI) to 0.38% in 2016. Emmanuel Macron built part of his election campaign on the promise to increase the aid spending by 2020 to eventually reach 0.7% by 2025. He has since then renewed this commitment a few times including at the United Nations.

“President Macron has pledged to spend 0.55% of GNI on development by 2022 and then reach the 0.7% threshold by 2025. He has renewed this commitment on several occasions since his election, especially before the United Nations General Assembly in September,” explained Michael Siegel of Oxfam France. Yet, there is still a gap between President’s promise and the government’s proposal for the increase.

According to Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, President Macron still needs to work on “a realistic trajectory” to reach his goal of 0.55% “The hour of truth will be in the next budget and next,” said the minister. The government’s plan for official development assistance should be published before the end of 2017 or in February 2018.

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