French Influence on Households in Developing Nations

Jill Washington

9 July 2017

A number of developing countries have in one way or the other depended on developed countries for their survival. Interactions between developing and developed countries can be traced back to times before colonization, and then colonization happened. Developed countries have currently assumed “big brother” status in their relationships with the developing world. In the face of looming ecological and economic crisis, a number of international conventions have led to the development of policies and international commitments that have seen developed countries focus on improving certain sectors of life in their developing counterparts.

French Flag
The French Flag (pictured above) – France has left its mark across the globe, and continues to do so in a post-imperialist society.

Foreign Influence after Imperialism

France is one such developed country on a mission to make the world a better place. As a country, it has made several commitments to improving lives in developing countries with the key areas of focus being health, environmental health and climate change related issues as well as poverty reduction. This is achieved through coordination and cooperation of the ministry of economy and finance, the ministry of foreign affairs and the French Development Agency in conjunction with investors from the private sector. The French government has invested a considerable amount of money in donor funding particularly in the education and health care sector. As of the year 2008, France had invested a total of €20 million to enable the fast tracking of multilateral initiatives aimed at improving the education conditions of developing countries. In the same breath, it donated €130 million yearly towards improving accessibility and quality of basic education in developing countries. As a result, the percentage of individuals enrolling in schools for basic education has gone up by sixteen percent in sub Saharan Africa from the year 1996 to the year 2006.

Health Care and Other Influences

The Impact of French on Other Countries
French families and culture have spread influence throughout the globe.

On the health care front, France has been at the fore front of championing for universal health care. This has seen the country advance €2 million to an informal network comprising of South Africa, Senegal, Brazil, France, Indonesia, Thailand and Norway for the purpose of subsidizing health care facilitation and strengthening efforts towards the various social protection needs of the member countries. By so doing, they have enabled developing countries such as Chile, Thailand, Rwanda and Gabon make immense strides in their respective health care sectors. Gabon for example has been empowered to be innovative in their fund raising so as to source funds that can be dedicated to health care of their citizens.

On a smaller and more personal scale, the impact on individual households can also be felt.  Use of modernized equipment like vacuum and steam cleaners and other “appareil entretien maison” (household appliances), has risen in recent decades due to the modernization brought on, at least in part, by French influences.

Economic Impact

While the monies invested in developing countries through donor funding does not necessarily trickle down to the pockets of individuals of the respective countries at the grass root levels, the effects are more wholesome and far reaching from a societal point of view. By enabling access to basic and higher education and improving health care facilities, donor aid by France is improving the lives of members of developing country households. The French influence on households in developing countries thus takes a rather indirect dimension. By providing educational enlightenment and improving the health care services and consequently the health of individuals in developing countries, France through donor aid is investing in a future where developing countries have both the intellectual capacity and manpower to reach their full potential.