France to provide 150m euro for corona response

Diplomatic Correspondent

7 August, 2020 12:00 AM printer

France will provide a concessional loan of 150 million euro to support Bangladesh with its cash transfer programmes and COVID-19 response.

The loan, recently approved by the Executive Board of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), will contribute towards the World Bank-supported Cash Transfer Modernization Project, which seeks to improve the transparency and efficiency of selected cash transfer programmes for vulnerable populations by modernising service delivery.

The loan will also support the government’s efforts to address the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the France Embassy on Thursday.

The project will be co-financed by AFD and the World Bank as a lead partner.

The project includes three components -- (1) Enhancement of Cash Transfer Programs, which incentivises actions towards improving the business processes under selected cash transfer programs (2) Modernisation of service delivery by providing technical assistance to support the enhancements of technology assets, utilising integrated information systems for targeting and payment, improving citizen engagement, and strengthening the capacity of human resources, and (3) Contingent Emergency Response (CER) to allow project financing to be mobilised rapidly in response to a natural or human-induced shock, disaster or crisis. The CER component will support the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The loan will provide co-financing for the Old Age Allowance program of the Ministry of Social Welfare (MoSW) and Department of Social Services (DSS) until 2023.

It will directly benefit the country’s most vulnerable populations as well as other Ministry of Social Welfare (MoSW) cash transfer programs and non-beneficiaries who may qualify for these programs.

The French Development Agency supports and accelerates the transitions to a fairer and more sustainable world. Focusing on climate, biodiversity, peace, education, urban development, health and governance, AFD carries out more than 4,000 projects in France’s overseas departments and territories and other 115 countries.

Present in Bangladesh since 2012, AFD supports projects in urban development and infrastructure, as well as in the power and green energy sectors. In addition, AFD also focuses on corporate and social responsibility.

As of 2020, AFD has committed 761 million euros to Bangladesh including 25 million euros in the form of grants. Through this new loan and an upcoming grant of 1 million euro (2050 Facility), the AFD will contribute to improved resilience climate change adaptation by reinforcing the social protection system.