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French assistance for reconstruction

French assistance for reconstruction

In 2002, France established an action program for Afghanistan’s reconstruction. This cooperation’s primary goals at the time were to respond to the humanitarian emergency and revive traditional cooperation: assistance for the French secondary schools (Esteqlal and Malalai) in Kabul, cooperation in the fields of health, agriculture, and culture. Cooperation in governance and the rule of law has also been initiated, because of Afghanistan’s significant needs in this area. This effort has increased steadily since 2002.

In 2004, the decision to include Afghanistan in the Priority Solidarity Zone (PSZ) allows this country to benefit from more funding, through grants from the French Development Agency (AFD) and access to the Priority Solidarity Fund (FSP). A project to revive cotton farming (AFD grant of €10 million) was launched in 2004 in Kunduz and Balkh provinces, as well as a rehabilitation project for the national blood transfusion system (€8 million AFD donation).

At the Paris conference in June 2008, the President of the Republic announced that French civilian aid to Afghanistan would be raised to €106 million over three years, more than doubling compared to the previous period (€13.57 million in annual disbursements between 2005 and 2007). This assistance is primarily devoted to cooperation activities in health and agriculture, two key areas for quickly, substantially, and sustainably improving the Afghan population’s living conditions.

This goal was confirmed and amplified by the decision in 2009 to further increase our civilian aid, increased to €40 million per year, and focuses specifically on implementing agriculture and rural development projects in Kapisa province and the Surobi district. A civilian team of 9 French experts in Governance and Development (Stability Sector) was deployed in this area in summer 2010.

France coordinated international efforts to support the establishment of the Afghan Parliament in close collaboration with the UN Development Program (UNDP) and its partners, especially Europe. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs contributed €2.5 million and the European Commission €3.5 million euros. This project consisted of training an effective parliamentary administration to support the elected officials’ work. The French Senate’s and National Assembly’s expertise played a major role in this undertaking’s success. Complementarily, a Franco-German project training judges and magistrates for the Afghan Supreme Court was launched.

With regards to health, we should mention, in addition to the AFD’s projects, the inauguration on April 7th, 2006, of the French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC) in Kabul, in the presence of President Karzai, Mrs. Bernadette Chirac (who had laid the foundation stone in May 2003), Foreign Minister Mr. Douste-Blazy, and Prince Karim Aga Khan. This facility was created with the help of private funds raised by the French NGOs Enfants Afghans [Afghan Children] and La Chaîne de l’espoir [The Chain of Hope], and with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The first open heart surgery in Afghan history was performed there, on a child, in April 2006. A €9 million concessional loan from AFD is to fund the hospital’s proposed expansion.

In the educational field, in addition to the French secondary schools already mentioned, France supports rehabilitating several training institutes for teachers and renovating school science programs. In the sector of higher education, cooperation has been initiated with Kabul University (Law School, French Department).

Finally, French cooperation is also engaged in private sector recovery (€5 million in loans for developing micro-credit and €10 million for developing mobile telephony) and safeguarding Afghanistan’s millennial heritage. In 2002, the DAFA restarted its protection, restoration, and enhancement activities for the country’s archaeological riches, and rebuilding the National Institute for Archaeology received French funding in 2010.

Updated on 01.02.12

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