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$18 million in grants for rural infrastructure
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Agence Française de Developpement (AFD) has granted the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) and Ministry of Agriculture €15 million ($18 million) to finance infrastructure within rural areas.

Olivier Ray, Director at AFD, said that the grant covers a three-component plan including short, medium, and long-term projects. The financing scheme will run over the long term, until 2022.

Ray said that AFD aims at improving the infrastructure of vulnerable and remote locations. The projects would increase and improve work opportunities and conditions for both refugees and host communities.

The short-term component will include €4 million ($5 million) to deploy nine reforestation projects. Ray said that at this point seven Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been selected to participate in the execution of the project.

Sami Feghali, Head of National Land Use and Planning Department at CDR, said that the reforestation plan will cover different locations covering 700 hectares in Mount Lebanon, Bekaa, Akkar, and North mohafazas, starting October 2018.

The medium-term component will include €8 million ($10 million) to finance 10 to 20 water retention and irrigation projects in Bekaa and Akkar. Artificial water ponds and systems will be constructed to improve agricultural productivity. Ray said that AFD tends to include the municipalities in operating and maintaining the projects. Feghali said that five projects have been selected, and at least other five projects will be analyzed for approval. The projects will start in 2019 and are expected to be finished by 2020.

AFD has dedicated €1.5 million ($1.8 million) for the long-term component which provides for the training of the operating teams. These include municipalities, NGOs, and private companies. Feghali said that training will cover technical issues as well as the application of proper working conditions.
Reported by Samer Rasbey
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Date Posted: May 18, 2018