France provides €50m for green SME investment in Bangladesh


Small and medium-sized businesses in rural Bangladesh, and women entrepreneurs in the green energy sector, will be among the prime beneficiaries of a new €50 million ($58.9 million) funding line from the Paris-based Agence Française de Développement (AFD).

The French state development agency has given the cash to the Bangladesh Infrastructure Finance Fund Limited to back green power and energy efficiency projects in the South Asian nation.

The Economic Relations Division of Bangladesh's Ministry of Finance announced the funding boost by stating rural SMEs and co-operatives would be prioritized for funding.

The infrastructure fund, which has already backed a 20 MW solar project, also has $150 million from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to draw upon.

Asif Ahmed Khan, a principal officer at the state-run body, said the fund contributes loans charged at around 6% interest to cover up to 70% of the cost of green spending with investors fronting up the balance.

The French development agency has been providing loans in Bangladesh since 2012, focusing on the development of energy facilities, infrastructure, water, sanitation, and the environment. For instance, the AFD has previously provided €50 million to Bangladesh's large garment manufacturing industry for investments into workplace safety, the environment and social projects.

Bangladesh sources around 3.3% of its electricity from a renewables fleet amounting to 767 MW of generation capacity.

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