In an effort to propel Laos from Least Developed Country status by 2020, the French government is continuing to support and assist many sectors within the country.
Since 1994, the French Development Agency (AFD) has supplied EUR 80 million in loans and has dispensed EUR 150 million into grants, pledging an estimated total of EUR 230 million to Laos.
During a discussion on Thursday, previous efforts were reviewed along with planning for next year’s bilateral cooperation. The meeting was attended by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr Kikeo Chanthaboury, Ambassador of France to Laos, Ms Claudine Ledoux, along with other officials.
Dr Kikeo stated, “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 AFD has been earnestly involved with agriculture and rural development by supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in its approach of ensuring food security, promoting competitive commodities and developing clean, safe and sustainable agriculture.
In a presentation made by the World Heritage Offices of Luang Prabang and Vat Phou, AFD’s long-term connection with cultural heritage conservation and urban development was highlighted and commended. The objective is 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, focusing on the professional training of Lao magistrates and lawyers, a field in which France has excelled in.
French development assistance to Laos is evaluated at an estimated 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.