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Saturday, July 20, 2024

France, European Union Inject Major Funding into Heritage, Agriculture,Tax Systems in Laos

This Week

The Ministry of Planning and Investment hosted the official launch of additional funding totaling EUR 13.6 million (USD 14.5 million) for three significant projects funded by the French Embassy and the European Union (EU) in Laos on 13 June.

The event was chaired by Minister Phet Phomphiphak, Deputy Minister Phonevanh Outhavong, French Ambassador to Laos Madam Siv-Leng Chhuor, and Jean-Pierre Marcelli, Regional Director for Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in Southeast Asia.

Of the EUR 13.6 million (USD 14.5 million), EUR 5 million (USD 5.36 million) will be allocated to preserving the Vat Phou Champasack World Heritage Site and revitalizing the old town of Savannakhet. These efforts aim to enhance tourism and improve the living conditions of local residents.

An additional EUR 8 million, co-financed by the EU, will support existing AFD projects focused on the coffee and tea sectors in Northern Laos. This initiative aims to promote agro-ecological community-based actions and develop climate-resilient and inclusive value chains with a gender and human rights-based approach.

Furthermore, EUR 600,000 (USD 643,656) will be dedicated to providing technical assistance through Expertise France. This will support the rationalization of tax expenditures related to concession agreements, helping Laos analyze new concession agreements for local and foreign direct investment projects. The goal is to establish a coordination mechanism between all concerned authorities, ultimately providing more sustainable resources for the Lao Government to implement its National Socio-Economic Development plans.

The launch ceremony coincided with Jean-Pierre Marcelli’s two-day mission to Vientiane on 13 to 14 June. During his visit, Marcelli met with high-ranking officials from several ministries and key development partners, including the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. Discussions focused on the challenges and priorities for development cooperation in Laos.

This event also marked the 30th anniversary of AFD’s presence in Laos, with a celebratory ceremony planned for the end of 2024.

“It is a great pleasure for me to witness the launch of these three new projects supported by the AFD Group,” said Siv-Leng Chhuor, Ambassador of France to Laos. “France, as a long and lasting partner of Laos, remains committed to further strengthen cooperation through various French cooperation actors. The sizable amount of additional funds approved by AFD and by the EU through AFD to enhance quality development in the coffee and tea sectors, preserve cultural heritage and support sustainable domestic revenues illustrates this commitment.”

These new initiatives highlight the continued dedication to fostering economic growth, enhancing community well-being, and addressing environmental challenges.

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