Official development assistance: can France respect its commitment to dedicate 0.7% of national wealth to developing countries?
This study, co-authored by IDDRI and Global Health Advocates, aims to evaluate the budgetary efforts required to achieve the objective of dedicating 0.7% of French wealth to official development assistance. The commitments of 2017 French presidentail election main candidates are taken to their word: what would it mean both politically and in budgetary terms, to dedicate 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to ODA?
0.7% ODA, A DEVELOPMENT POLICY MARKER
French presidential campaigns usually neglect cooperation and development policies. However, for the first time in 2017, official development assistance (ODA) was a subject of commitments and debates. In particular, the emblematic objective of increasing French ODA up to 0.7% of gross national income (GNI), considered by international solidarity NGOs as a "marker" of the Government concerned about development was taken up by several candidates with different timelines: 2022 or 2025.
AN ACHIEVABLE OBJECTIVE, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS
We have examined the political conditions and assessed the budgetary effort required to reach the 0.7% target—i.e. a doubling of the current ratio (0.38% of GNI in 2016). As a result, the British and German examples show that within the timeframe envisaged by the main candidates and by the President-elect during his campaign, a doubling of French ODA is possible. Moreover, these examples show that political commitment at the highest level is absolutely essential, otherwise the budgetary equation cannot be solved. Similarly, ahead of the extra budgetary effort required, NGOs, parliamentarians and public opinion must share a "narrative"" of the virtues of aid in a rapidly changing world.
TWO SCENARIOS, WITH SAME BUDGET EQUATION AND POLICY TO BE RESOLVED
We have selected two scenarios for the doubling of French assistance. The first prioritizes an increase of revenues dedicated to ODA arising from the French Financial Transaction Tax (FTT). The second prioritizes the increase of the budgetary allocations of the ODA mission—and therefore tax. While mobilizing very different financial instruments, the two scenarios require significant additional budgetary resources, rising annually from 15% to 28%, depending on the type of financing and deadlines chosen. Thus, even if the base of the FTT is extended, the budgetary cost of the transition to 0.7% adds a political unknown to the budgetary equation.