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Cablegate: France's New Development Aid Policy Goals: Efficiency And

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHFR #3138/01 2041438
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231438Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9081

UNCLAS PARIS 003138

SIPDIS

MILLENIUM CHALLENGE CORP
INFO EU MEMBER STATE COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY DAKAR
AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
AMEMBASSY COTONOU
AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV FR

SUBJECT: FRANCE'S NEW DEVELOPMENT AID POLICY GOALS: EFFICIENCY AND
ADVANCING GOOD GOVERNANCE


1. (U) Summary: French State Secretary for Cooperation and
Francophone Affairs Jean-Marie Bockel recently outlined France's
public development aid priorities, which include developing clear
strategic aims (such as support for good governance and democracy)
through a variety of players, including NGOs and French cities,
departments and regions. Bockel will work in close cooperation with
a new French participant in the development arena, Brice Hortefeux,
Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and
Co-development to maintain the coherence of French aid policy. GOF
action is to be merged with that of its EU partners in countries
where French presence is "not significant." End Summary.

Clear aims: Conditionality
--------------------------
2. (U) Speaking before representatives of French development aid
players during a two-day seminar on International Cooperation and
Development July 17-18, new Cooperation Secretary Jean-Marie Bockel
set four conditions for granting foreign aid: a democratic
government, public policies in favor of the neediest, respect for
human rights, and anti-corruption policies. If these conditions
cannot be met, political initiative must take over in the form of an
agreement between major donors, Bockel said. He suggested that such
an initiative be taken by the EU, the world's leading net
contributor of public development aid.

Focus on a few strategic aims
-----------------------------
3. (U) French aid programs must also be streamlined since "we can't
do everything, be everywhere," Bockel noted. French aid should
therefore be limited in scope, and focus on one or two strategic
aims in each country, he said. The aims should meet one or more of
five challenges: the environment, population growth, rural
development, governance, and cultural and linguistic diversity.
Bockel explained that governance did not only include fighting
corruption but also ensuring fairness in international trade. He
will speak on cultural diversity and France's cultural and
linguistic policy at a separate venue.

Involve more players
--------------------
4. (U) In addition to the French Development Agency (AFD), the GOF
will call on other, less traditional players to implement these
changes. The newest and most promising one stems from the "network
of solidarity" spun by immigrants to France, Bockel stated. He said
that he will work closely with Brice Hortefeux, Minister of
Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Co-development to
ensure that French aid policy remains coherent. Bockel's statement
sheds some light on Hortefeux's involvement in "co-development."
The GOF will also give greater prominence to development NGOs and
French sub-national entities (regions, departments, cities) because
the "battle of development cannot be won without them," he
observed.

Reforming the modalities for granting aid
-----------------------------------------
5. (U) Given the new aims and players, Bockel argued for providing
different types of aid to countries according to their high, low or
intermediate level of governance. Low governance countries will
require non-governmental aid. Capacity building and reconstruction
will be given priority in the most fragile of these countries. In
democratic countries France will cooperate with other donors, rather
than try to outshine them, through budget support and sectoral
support policies. Finally, in so-called intermediate countries, the
French Development Agency AFD will grant subsidies, sovereign and
non-sovereign loans and finance technical assistance based on
national policies, as well as the 2005 Declaration of Paris on Aid
Effectiveness.

French Public Development Aid in Numbers
----------------------------------------
6. (U) Bockel confirmed that France would abide by its pledge to
increase its foreign assistance budget from its current 0.47 percent
of GDP to 0.7 percent by 2015. In order to meet its commitment for
a more generous and better- targeted development aid policy, Bockel
told French development players that impact assessments would be
carried out to test the efficiency of each project. He will also
lead an outreach effort aimed more specifically at schools,
universities, NGOs and local entities.

Comment
-------
7. (SBU) Bockel's new tone is a reflection of President Sarkozy's
pledge for new relations with Africa and an end to GOF support for
dubious regimes. We will want to watch carefully to see if the new

focus on "International Development and Interdependent Solidarity"
leads to more result-oriented policies and programs within the
Cooperation Ministry, less channeling of promised aid increases
through multilateral institutions such as the EU, and an effective
pull-back from countries where others (such as the United States)
have taken the lead. We note that the Sarkozy government has
formally backed away from President Chirac's goal of increasing
French ODA to 0.7% of GDP by 2012, in favor of the 2015 target
pledged by EU member states in 2005. It is clear that France's
development assistance budget will come under continuing pressure as
the Sarkozy government moves forward with tax cut and budget
consolidation priorities.

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