9 December 2006

UNIDO, AFD to Help Developing Countries, Economies in Transition Reduce Poverty Through Productive Activities

VIENNA, 9 December (UN Information Service) - The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the French development agency Agence Française de Développement (AFD) will work closely to help developing countries and economies in transition reduce poverty through productive activities. They will also develop the trade capacity of businesses and focus on energy and environmental development.

The agreement was signed in Vienna on Monday by UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, and AFD Director-General, Jean-Michel Serverino.

The two organizations will continue existing joint programmes and develop new ones to strengthen the capacities of small and medium-size businesses through development, and particularly in relation to credit; focus on industrial modernization and high quality infrastructure, energy in Africa, in coordination with other European initiatives. They will also elaborate common technical publications in the field of energy and climate change, and develop activities in support of the Mediterranean exchange initiative.

In 2008, the AFD has committed close to 4.5 billion euro to finance initiatives in south countries and overseas. The funds are primarily targeted at educating 7 million children, supplying drinkable water to 4, 4 million people and support 370 000 jobs in the productive sector. Projects on energy efficiency help save some 3, 3 million tons of CO2 per year.

Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is a bi-lateral development finance institution and has worked for over sixty years to alleviate poverty and foster sustainable economic growth in the south and overseas. The Agency implements development policy defined by the French Government. Present in more than 50 countries, the AFD finances projects which aim to improve the living conditions of people, sustain economic growth and protect the planet.

UNIDO is a specialized agency of the United Nations, mandated to promote industrial development in developing countries and economies in transition. The Organization works in close partnership with Ministries of industry, national institutions and the private sector in 173 countries.

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For further information, please contact:

Laure Weisgerber
Telephone: (+ 33-1) 5344-30 57
Email: weisgerberl@afd.fr

George Assaf
Spokesperson, UNIDO
Telephone: (+43-1) 26026-3849
Email: g.assaf@unido.org
Website: www.unido.org