First Published in Vientiane Times.

Germany has agreed to provide more than 487 billion kip (50 million Euro) to deepen cooperation with Laos as the country moves forward to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals.

The new funding was made available by Germany to support projects in the areas of rural development, environment and natural resources, sustainable economic development, and the rehabilitation of infrastructure in Attapeu province.

Agreements were signed in Vientiane yesterday during a visit by the Vice Minister and Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Mr Norbert Barthle, and a high-ranking delegation of German parliamentarians.

The Lao government and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany signed new agreements on financial and technical cooperation.
These agreements form part of the commitment of more than 487 billion kip (50 million Euro) in new funding for the period 2018-2020 that was made available by Germany during intergovernmental negotiations in Berlin in September last year. 

The agreements on financial and technical cooperation were signed by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr Kikeo Chanthaboury, and German Ambassador to Laos, Mr Jens Lütkenherm.

The signing was witnessed by Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Souphanh Keomixay, German Vice Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Mr Norbert Barthle, and German members of parliament along with high-ranking officials from development organizations and the private sector.

Dr Souphanh said, “These agreements are a testament to the strengthened bilateral cooperation between Laos and Germany. We recognize the importance of this cooperation for Laos to move towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and graduate from Least Developed Country status.”

From the total commitment, 20 million Euro will go to financial cooperation projects in the area of micro finance in rural areas, rural development, and land management.

A further 20 million Euro will be allocated to technical cooperation projects, specifically in the areas of citizen engagement for good governance, accountability, and the rule of law, Laos’ integration into the Asean Economic Community, vocational education, support for mine safety and environmental protection at mines, land management and decentralized planning, and the sustainable use of forests and biodiversity.

A special additional contribution of 10 million Euro is being provided for the rehabilitation of infrastructure destroyed by the devastating flood that occurred in Attapeu province last July. All of these projects will be implemented by the German Technical Cooperation (GIZ), KfW Development Bank and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources.

Ambassador Lütkenherm said the longstanding official German development cooperation with Laos, together with projects from numerous German NGOs and private initiatives, have contributed vastly to the overall development of Laos and the reduction of poverty over past decades. He also commended the efforts of the government to eliminate poverty and the progress made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
During their visit, Mr Barthle and his delegation also visited high-ranking Lao government officials.

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