RWANDA – Rwanda and France, through the French Development Agency (AFD), have signed several financing agreements for almost 50 million euros (US$56m), to fight against COVID-19 and strengthen training professional and developing vocational training systems.

This funding is part of the revival of the partnership between France and Rwanda, desired by Presidents Paul KAGAME and Emmanuel MACRON. AFD’s contribution will ensure the fungibility and flexibility necessary for the Government of Rwanda to adapt the use of resources to the evolution of the disease.

The first agreement is a concessional budget loan of 40 million euros, which finances the strategy to combat the COVID-19 epidemic and the social recovery plan drawn up by the Rwandan authorities.

“Part of the unprecedented surge of global solidarity to face the COVID-19 health crisis in Africa, AFD is fully committed to a targeted response to the health challenges posed by this pandemic,” saided Rémy Rioux, Director General of AFD.

“Given the emergency situation, the agency is mobilizing all of its teams and resources to provide fair, rapid responses adapted to the needs expressed on the ground by our partners, with the priority objective of strengthening systems health care for the most vulnerable and to support the actors involved in this fight which concerns us all.”

On the health side, the AFD loan finances priority measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, increase diagnostic capacities (tests, laboratory equipment), prevent and control infections in health centers (implementation isolation centers, personal protective equipment) and improve the treatment of affected patients.

In the longer term, it will help build the capacity of the country’s health system and improve the socio-economic livelihoods of the communities most affected by COVID-19. This component is under the responsibility of the Biomedical Center of Rwanda (RBC).

In addition to the budget loan of 40 million euros (US$44.8m), AFD is also granting a grant of 2 million euros (US$2.24m) to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which will relieve the most vulnerable households in collaboration with the Cross Rwandan Red and the country’s authorities.

This total contribution of 42 million euros (US$44.8m) against COVID-19 is included in the engagement in Rwanda of #TeamEurope (“Team Europe”), which expresses the solidarity of its Member States in the fight against COVID-19 in world level.

In this context, France has committed to mobilizing 1.2 billion euros (US$1.35bn) in response to the global public health crisis caused by the pandemic, through the “Joint Health” program.

The second agreement, a grant of 5.8 million euros (US$6.51m), aims to support the development of the country’s vocational training system.

The project will increase the employability of young Rwandans by strengthening their technical and linguistic skills through the insertion of modules intended to strengthen the teaching of French.

It thus responds to the strategy of the Rwandan authorities to make the country a regional growth pole and a real linguistic hub.

The funding will also contribute to the implementation of a territorial plan in the district of Rulindo, which brings together those involved in education, entrepreneurship and the professional integration of young people.

Rwanda Polytechnic, a key player in vocational training within the Ministry of Education, will be responsible for the implementation of the project.

An additional 1.7 million euros (US$1.9m) will be provided by AFD in the form of technical assistance from the French operator Expertise France, bringing France’s total support to 7.5 million euros (US$19.63m).

These financing agreements, for a total amount of 49.5 million euros (US$55.5m), realize the priorities of the French cooperation policy defined by the government, around the following five thematic priorities: the fight against vulnerabilities, education, climate, gender equality and health. They preserve the environment and strengthen social cohesion.

“The donation of 5.8 million euros (US$6.51m) materializes our wish to support Rwanda’s ambitious development strategy by supporting the vocational training sector in order to promote the access of young Rwandans to employment. I hope that the re-engagement of AFD in Rwanda will continue in the spirit of partnership that governs Franco-Rwandan relations,” said Jérémie Blin, Chargé d’affaires of the French Republic in Rwanda.

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