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$212,000 funding to support small-scale economic activities

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 2, 2012) - France has donated an amount of 20 million vatu [US$212,000] for a number of Vanuatu development programs for 2012 ahead of New Year.

The fund was presented to the Vanuatu Government through a signing agreement that took place at the Prime Minister’s Conference Room last Friday.

The French Ambassador to Vanuatu Mr Michel Djokovic and the Director General in the Prime Minister’s Office Mr Simeon Athy signed the development fund agreement witnessed by staff of both French Embassy and the Prime Minister’s Office.

The agreement refers to the Partnership Framework Document (DCP) signed between France and Vanuatu in 2006 which allows the Embassy of France to support initiatives of communications, associations or economic groups to access the funds for the development needs in the country as specified in the agreement.

Speaking at the signing agreement ceremony last Friday, French Ambassador to Vanuatu Mr Djokovic said the objective of the fund is to improve access for the most vulnerable populations to basic social services and to create economic and social activities for the improvement of living conditions of communities in the rural and urban areas of Vanuatu.

Projects with costs not less than Vt2 million and not over Vt5 Million will be considered for funding under the Vt20 Million funding by the French Government through the French Embassy in Port Vila.

The main areas targeted by the program are sustainable economic development, water and sanitation, education, health, social development projects and gender equity.

Applications for the use of the funds will be selected by a committee of experts including members of the aid coordination unit of the Office of the Prime Minister, Representatives of Civil Society in Vanuatu, staff of the Cooperation Department of the French Embassy, and chaired by the Ambassador of France in Vanuatu.

France has tripled the budget allocated to the development program for 2012 compared to 2011.

In his remarks during the signing ceremony, the Director General in the Office of the Prime Minister, Simeon Athy, thanked the French Government and said the relationship between France and Vanuatu has remained strong. He said France contribution in many development areas of Vanuatu over the past years were significant and appreciated by the Government and the people of Vanuatu. Mr Athy said the signing agreement on Friday for the 2012 programs ahead of the start of New Year is also a sign of the firm commitment on the part of France in recognizing the importance of the Vanuatu needs for this funding.

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