French economy bounces back thanks to ‘swift and effective’ Covid response

OECD head Mathias Cormann addresses a press conference about a new OECD economic study about France. It found that the government responded well to the pandemic.
OECD head Mathias Cormann addresses a press conference about a new OECD economic study about France. It found that the government responded well to the pandemic. (Photo by Eric PIERMONT / AFP)
The OECD has issued a new report on the French economy, finding that government support during the pandemic has helped the economy rebound quickly, but investment is still need in certain areas.

The latest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey of France has revealed some encouraging conclusions. 

While the economy contracted by 8 percent in 2020, the study predicted GDP growth of 6.8 percent in 2021 and 4.2 percent in 2022.

A graph shows that French economy is predicted to bounce back
A strong mix of government policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed the French economy to bounce back. (Source: OECD)

“France’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has been swift and effective, enabling it to emerge from the health crisis with jobs and household incomes well protected and its economic capacity largely preserved,” said OECD Secretary-General, Mathias Cormann, at the unveiling of the survey. 

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“A rigorous implementation of the government’s Recovery and Investment Plans will help to turn the rebound into lasting sustained growth, building a greener, more digital and more resilient economy.”

The report warned however that while it was important not to withdraw financial support for households and businesses, it would be worth targeting this spending more efficiently. Money should go to ‘viable’ businesses and sectors to encourage investment, it said. 

Among all the OECD member nations, which are composed of high-income countries described by one economist as a ‘rich men’s club’, France has the highest public spending as a share of GDP.

French public spending as a percentage of GDP is higher in France than in other developed nations. (Source: OECD)

The organisation said that French businesses had been slow in adopting digital technologies and that this was harming productivity. 

It also noted that France needed to invest more in professional training to address labour market shortages and in incentives to encourage transition to a greener economy. 


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  1. OECD also said French debt is unsustainable, pension age must increase and public expenditure brought down. Amazingly, it actually suggested France should follow the British model.

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