The Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) held on Wednesday, Jul 4 a portfolio review, chaired by Dr Kikeo Chanthaboury, Vice Minister, and Ms Claudine Ledoux, French Ambassador to the Lao PDR.
AFD is France’s inclusive public development bank, whose purpose is to provide financial and technical assistance to projects that genuinely improve everyday life, both in developing and emerging countries, with a particular focus on climate-friendly projects.
The meeting was the occasion to acknowledge the recent signature of three financing agreements between AFD and MPI:
– A Euros 5.7 million financing agreement was signed last month to improve food and nutrition security in 420 villages of the Northern Provinces of Huaphan, Luang Namtha, Luang Prabang and Phongsaly. The project aims at strengthening capacities of government services to mainstream nutrition issues in their interventions. It will also improve knowledge on nutrition-sensitive and sustainable agriculture at community level, and access to and use of nutritious food for vulnerable households. This project is largely funded by the European Union, which provides a Euros 5m contribution as part of the EU-Laos Euros 50m Partnership for Improved Nutrition in the Lao PDR (EUPIN).
– A Euros 1 million extension of the NUDP2 (Northern Uplands Development Programme � phase 2) project was also signed last month. The Euros 4m NUDP2 project has already financed the construction of 88 water supply schemes and 31 irrigation schemes in Northern provinces, to the benefit of more than 40,000 people. This Euros 1m extension will strengthen the sustainability of the schemes and promote sustainable agricultural practices to maximize the development benefits of the infrastructures.
– A Euros 500 thousand grant for studies and capacity building.
The meeting also acknowledged the very recent approval of a Euros 1.5 million grant for the tea sector. This grant will support two local initiatives in Bokeo and Xayaboury, and also strengthen the governance of the tea sector at national level (national tea strategy, trainings).
AFD and MPI reportedly intend to strengthen their cooperation in agriculture and rural development, with particular focuses on agroecology, nutrition, irrigation, value chains (coffee, tea) and biodiversity conservation, through a better management of protected areas.
AFD will remain active in cultural heritage-related urban development. After decades of successful partnership with the Department of World Heritage in Luang Prabang for the conciliation of tourism with the preservation of heritage and cultural values, AFD financings will gradually shift to the South of the country: Champasak and Savannakhet.
AFD will also engage in the Justice sector, to strengthen the capacities of the Ministry of Justice and other stakeholders.
Source: Lao News Agency