The Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), the French government's funding agency, considers Bangladesh as an important country in South Asia for development funding since 22 projects with portfolio of € 1.12 billion have been under its commitment so far in the past one decade.
The agency which increased yearly funding from €40 million to € 300-350 million since 2012 through loans and grants has dominated the energy sector providing 34 per cent of its total funding.
Though health and social protection sector gets 31 per cent and water 26 per cent of its total funding, the transport sector remains lowest with 4.0 per cent.
AFD Country Director Benoit Chassattee said AFD works with the government to achieve its long-term development goals, including green and exclusive growth of the country.
"The AFD has now committed to provide loan worth € 300-350 million yearly which is quite impressive," he said while sharing the data with a group of journalists here on Saturday.
When asked about lower investment in the transport sector despite its inception with the sector, the Country Director said slow progress in a co-funded project was the reason for it.
He added a new arrangement is likely in the sector soon citing that efficient transport system development is the need of the time for the Dhaka city.
According to the AFD document, € 1.11 billion was financed since 2012, which is 97 per cent of the total portfolio.
The grant amount is € 30 million. Financing in the development projects began with € 40 million which was gradually increased to € 330 till 2021.
The actual and expected commitment of AFD amounts is € 450 million in 2022 which is mostly sovereign loans.
The Country Director said AFD has been working with the government to develop low-carbon infrastructure and promote access to essential services for the people.
AFD is not like other development partners whose contribution in South Asia is huge, Mr Benoit said adding Bangladesh gets into focus after the AFD policy to work in South Asian region in early 20s.
The AFD has been engaged in a project under Dhaka WASA for improving access
to drinking water for all as well as power grid under the Dhaka Power Distribution Company.
Besides, the French government funding agency also runs a European credit programme that enables the garment factories to invest in safety and social and environmental standards.
The EU, the German Institutions, KfW and GIZ are the AFD's partners in this initiative.
Regional Communi-cations Manager of South Asia Arabella Seebaluck and Project Officer Thibaut Hamm were present in the meeting and briefed about more projects under the AFD funding.