French development aid up 13 percent
France's overseas development aid for 2016 rose 13 percent compared to the year before. France spent a little over nine billion euros on aid last year, with almost half of the money going to Africa.
With Europe facing its most acute migration crisis since the end of World War II and jihadi groups active in countries around the Sahara, Paris has boosted overseas aid spending to 9.4 billion euros going to 657 projects around the world, according to figures published by the French development agency, AFD, this week.
Nearly four billion euros went to Africa, with 20 percent of spending going to Asia, 20 percent to Latin America and 10 percent to the Middle East.
The figures are unprecedented, according to AFD chief Rémy Rioux, who said that the growth would continue.
Paris hopes to spend at least 12.7 billon euros in 2020 and commitments to Africa, which have been rising since 2010, should reach 23 billion euros over the next five years, as outgoing President François Hollande promised at a France-Africa summit in Mali in January.
But, given France's record of interference in African countries' politics through the policy known as Françafrique, NGOs are demanding that this money should come with no strings attached, as Bénédicte Hermelin, the executive director of Paris-based Coordination Sud.
France is the world's fourth biggest Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) donor in terms of budget, contributing almost 10 billion euros annually.