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Laos, France review progress in cooperation 

The French government is continuing to provide support and assistance to many sectors in Laos with the goal of ensuring the nation graduates from Least Developed Country status in 2020.
Since 1994, the French Development Agency (AFD) has committed about EUR 230 million to Laos, of which EUR 80 million has been in the form of loans and EUR 150 million was dispensed in grants, mainly to the government.
A review of past work and planning for next year in terms of bilateral cooperation took place in Vientiane yesterday, attended by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment DrKikeoChanthaboury, Ambassador of France to Laos Ms Claudine Ledoux, and other officials.
Speaking at the meeting, DrKikeo said “The government of France has supported and assisted many sectors of the Lao government especially agriculture and rural development, urban and socio-cultural development, governance, education, and health.
This conforms to the goals of the 8th five-year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2016-2020) which is targeting the removal of Laos from Least Developed Country status.”
The French Development Agency has been particularly involved in agriculture and rural development by supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in its main strategies of ensuring food security, promoting competitive commodities and developing clean, safe and sustainable agriculture.
AFD’s long-term involvement in cultural heritage conservation and urban development was highlighted in a presentation by the World Heritage Offices of LuangPrabang and Vat Phou on the cooperation programmes underway. Their objectives are to build capacity among local authorities so they are able to balance heritage conservation with urban development.
The French Embassy gave a presentation on its ongoing action in the field of governance which has two priorities: respect for the rule of law and the emergence of civil society in Laos.
France has been working closely with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to design and implement a master plan for justice in Laos.
The project, which is supported by the French Embassy, focuses on the professional training of Lao magistrates and lawyers, a field in which France is recognised for its excellence.
In the coming years the French Embassy will focus on the promotion of research accompanying French institutes represented in Laos.
Overall, French development assistance to Laos is evaluated at US$15 million each year and US$25 million globally, including France’s financial aid through multilateral channels (European Union, United Nations, etc.), which also benefits Laos.
In addition, the French government remains mobilised through the Global Fund to Fight HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (France is the second largest contributor and facilitates many expertise missions year round through the “5 percent initiative”).

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update May 19, 2017)

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