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France to target 16 African countries for aid

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault  with Malaysia's Najib Razak on a visit to the country this week
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault with Malaysia's Najib Razak on a visit to the country this week Reuters

France has rejigged its aid priorities with 16 African countries to receive the lion’s share of the 9.4 billion euros it is to give in 2013. As Paris struggles to reduce public spending, aid will be concentrated on the countries that most need it, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Wednesday.

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After the first meeting for four years of a ministerial committee on aid and development,

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Ayrault announced that 85 per cent of French aid will go to African and Mediterranean countries.

The priority countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, the Comoros, Djibouti, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Togo and Senegal.

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But countries that are “coming out of crisis” will not be forgotten, Ayrault said, naming Haiti, Afghanistan, Yemen and Palestine.

The French government will stress the need for transparency and efficient control of aid money, he added.

France is the world’s fourth biggest aid donor, contributing 10 per cent of international aid efforts.

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