International aid workers share a general sentiment of inconsistency after France announced a major cut to its aid budget. On February 18th, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said the country would reduce its public development aid by nearly €800 million. This comes despite a 2021 law that promised to increase aid by €5 billion over two years.


In his latest announcement, Bruno Le Maire explained that France hopes to save €10 billion to offset expected slow growth in the French economy in 2024. For this purpose, the government decided to cut €742 million from the international aid budget, a cut that makes up 12.5% of the planned annual budget of €5.9 billion for this year.

Read the full recap on the official website of  FOCUS 2030.

This move is surprising because France had already delayed its long-standing promise to spend 0.7% of its GDP on public development aid, sticking instead around 0.5%. The 2021 law was meant to help meet this decades-old goal, initially set in 1970. Additionally, in June 2023, France hosted a summit to create a new global financial plan to fight climate change and reduce poverty. Now, these recent cuts seem to contradict those ambitious plans.


Over 100 international aid organizations wrote an op-ed in Le Monde criticizing the government for breaking its promises and sending mixed signals. They said this move damages France’s credibility on the world stage.

Read: “Cutting €742 Million from International Solidarity: An Unacceptable Move Against the 2021 Law and Presidential Commitments”

There are still questions about how the cuts will be distributed. A significant portion of the aid budget is non-negotiable due to existing commitments and operational costs of the ministries managing the aid.

No matter how the cuts are split, France is backing away from its promise to maintain and increase aid to developing countries. Aid groups are urging the government to reconsider, warning that these cuts will end critical projects and programs that support thousands of people worldwide.