The French support the principle of development assistance. This is what is shown by AFD’s latest barometer, which was released on this Thursday 12 April. This survey of the French, French youth and France’s development assistance policy conducted for AFD by IPSOS shows that 70% of the French are in favor of support for developing countries.
While the French show their solidarity towards countries in transition, their knowledge of the workings of France’s development policy still needs to be improved. But it is continuing to make progress. Consequently, 26% of French people say that they are well-informed about the French development policy, a figure which has seen a marked increase in recent years: it rose from 10% in 2013 to 18% in 2016 and gained a further 8 points in 2018.
An interacting world
This form of education in development issues should be seen in the light of the fact that there is growing awareness among French people of the interactions between the future of developing countries and their own future. For 70% of French people, what will happen in developing countries in the coming years – on the political, economic, climate, demographic front… – can have an impact on their lives in France. In a globalized world, the French understand that the fate of the world is common to us all.
In the same vein, it is not surprising that four French people in ten have already heard about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This figure is, however, lower than in 2016 (54%), when it is likely that COP21 right at the end of 2015 exceptionally shed light on the issue.
Informing means convincing
Knowledge of AFD is at roughly the same level, with 49% of French people saying they have already heard about it. While this was only the case for 35% of them in 2012, showing that AFD has become much more well-known, the substance of the message to the general public still needs to be improved: only 6% of respondents really know what AFD does.
In this context, the French question the effectiveness of development assistance: while 40% consider it is efficient, 60% think the opposite. However, 75% of people who are well-informed about the subject of development assistance in their country consider that it is effective. The duty to inform about France’s action in this respect takes on all its meaning, especially as there continue to be misconceptions about development.
Some of the untrue assertions widely confirmed by respondents: “Poverty has increased around the world over the past fifteen years”, “School enrolment has stagnated in Africa”, “Sub-Saharan migration is mainly towards countries in the North” show that there is a long way to go to break down misconceptions.
A committed youth
The latest AFD/IPSOS barometer confirms the commitment of French youth. 66% of young French people aged between 15 and 25 are involved or wish to get involved in a cause or project to help others. This is better than their peers in the USA (27%), Germany (25%) and the UK (17%), who were also questioned by IPSOS. They all have a preference for the themes of the environment and sustainable development.
These young respondents from the four countries are also convinced about the role that citizens have to play in bringing about positive changes in the world, the first being the Americans (72%), with the Germans less enthusiastic about the idea (44%), while 59% of the French say “yes”, which is slightly lower than the British (62%).
Young French people are divided over the issue of globalization: 52% see it as an opportunity, while 48% consider it as a threat to the country. This approach is very different from their peers, as 67% and 75% of the Germans, British and Americans have a positive view of globalization.