France to offer Philippines low-interest development loans

The Philippines and France have inked a financial and development cooperation agreement aimed at tackling poverty and fostering inclusive growth for Filipinos, the Department of Finance (DOF) announced.

On June 7, Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to the Philippines Marie Fontanel signed the Agreement on Financial and Development Cooperation (AFDC).

Under the AFDC, the Philippines will gain access to concessional official development assistance (ODA) and blended financing from France to support the execution of key projects and programs by the Marcos administration.

“With the broad range of development areas covered, this agreement will certainly serve as a key poverty-fighting force that will help us establish a solid foundation for a thriving, inclusive future for Filipinos,” Recto said in a statement on Monday, June 10.

Recto noted that the agreement is more than a mere financial collaboration as it stands as a commitment to ensure continuous implementation of initiatives that will positively impact all Filipinos.

He, meanwhile, conveyed his appreciation to the French government for standing as an ally to the Philippines in this initiative, which is poised to play a key role in enhancing economic stability and prosperity for Filipinos.

“With the agreement now in place, we anticipate strengthened cooperation with France across high-impact sectors crucial to our country’s development,” Recto said.

These sectors include agriculture, agro-industry, mining, water sanitation, infrastructure, transportation, and renewable energy. 

“We are very enthusiastic about the numerous pioneering and exciting projects that will be developed through this agreement, especially those that have never been done before in the Philippines,” Recto said.

He reiterated his commitment to lead the DOF in ensuring the efficient implementation of the agreement, as well as the full compliance of all relevant agencies with the processes and protocols agreed upon.

In her remarks, Fontanel stated that France is eager to enhance the level of its partnership with the Philippines, particularly in defense, security, energy, food, maritime, and climate change. 

She also expressed France’s commitment to help with the roll-out of the Build Better More program and thanked the DOF and the DFA for a job well done in finalizing the agreement.