The Commission for the Convention on Regional Cooperation is co-chaired by Government President Philippe Germain, Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and French Ambassador to Vanuatu Gilles Favret.

France collaboration with Vanuatu deepens

Under the regional cooperation agreement between France, New Caledonia and Vanuatu, the head of government Philippe Germain was in Port-Vila on 17 July. The opportunity to address other issues underway including the future National University of Vanuatu.

In accordance with the development guidelines of Vanuatu, the partners decided to give priority to cooperation projects in the fields of education and training with a strong commitment to the development of the French language in administration and education (See proposed projects below). A strategy that fully supports the creation of a bilingual university in Vanuatu.

Educational cooperation

This large-scale project, for its part, is financed by the AFD (French Development Agency) to the amount of 70% under its FICOL program (Financing facilities for local authorities) and the New Caledonia. Philippe Germain’s trip to Vanuatu provided an update on the progress of the case. The infrastructure of higher education will not only strengthen the position of French as a language of instruction, but also open opportunities for exchanges between students, teachers and, in the future, researchers from New Caledonia and Vanuatu. The construction could begin at the end of the year on the current site of the Agence universitaire de la francophonie in Port-Vila.

Transport network

In addition, AFD has just approved the financing of another cooperation project with Vanuatu, this time by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New Caledonia concerning the expansion and renovation of the fire station at Bauerfield International Airport in Port Vila. This project would enable the archipelago to accommodate wide-body aircraft, particularly from Asia. Again, the expertise of New Caledonia is expected. As a reminder, the transport sector is part of the bilateral cooperation program signed between New Caledonia and Vanuatu last March. These various collaborations reinforce the partnership between the two countries and sees New Caledonia as a privileged neighbour in the region.

Philippe Germain and Charlot Salwai also spoke about the upcoming Presidency of the Pacific Community by New Caledonia for two years.

Proposed projects

This year the Commission for the Convention on Regional Cooperation has emphasized the training of diplomats and senior civil servants in Vanuatu by validating two projects carried out by New Caledonian institutions, the CREIPAC (Center for International Encounters and Exchange of the Pacific) And IFAP (Institute for Training in Public Administration). The funds will also be used to finance a cultural project of the Alliance Fran├žaise or to reactivate the Castor operation which involves the armed forces of New Caledonia renovation of schools and health facilities. The seven cooperation projects selected will be financed to the amount of 37 million francs by the state and New Caledonia.

Source: Le Mag du Gouv