France would provide a concessional loan worth 150 million euros to help Bangladesh overcome the adverse socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ambassador of France to Bangladesh Jean-Marin SCHUH on Monday made the disclosure in a message on the eve of the French National Day to be celebrated today (Tuesday).
"Sustainable development is at the heart of our cooperation and the French Development Agency has been a strong pillar since the beginning," he said, recalling the excellent relations developed between the two countries since the early days of the fight for Independence led by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1971.
He also recalled that André Malraux, who fought for freedom during the civil war in Spain, lent him a strong support and now stands as a symbol of our friendship.
"Despite the difficult times we are all going through right now, I would like to say that Bangladesh and France have a bright future together. More than common interests, we also share a common vision, especially regarding climate change, and we will work every day to strengthen our strategic partnerships in this changing world," said the French ambassador.
"Today, we commemorate the storming of the Bastille in Paris on the 14th of July 1789. More than our National Day, we celebrate the universal values that come from the French revolution and that are at the core of who we are. Just as France, Bangladesh is a country where the word Freedom has a deep resonance, and I want us to remember that our friendship is also anchored in our existence as free Nations,'' said the French Ambassador.
On this 14th of July, he said, "We celebrate our national day as it is our tradition, but in a nontraditional way. We are not hosting celebrations as we used to. All around the world, for the past four months, our countries have experienced major changes due to the current pandemic."
"Unfortunately, we may never be back to 'normal', to our way of life as it was before COVID-19. But this unprecedented disruption can also be seen as an opportunity to emerge stronger from the crisis. During the darkest times, we have learned that the actions of every individual are important," said the French Ambassador.
In France, in Bangladesh and everywhere in the world, he said, the social value of the medical staff has been made clear to all of us. The importance of those carrying out essential roles, who selflessly continued their day-to-day duties to allow our countries to survive the crisis has to be reminded everyday, he added.
"There are certain goods and services that must be placed outside the laws of the market," he said, adding that the coming months and years will require decisions to be taken, and our governments will have to put healthcare and social protection at the centre of their policies to avoid another disaster.
In such a context, the ambassador said that the need for international collaboration is increasing, as no country can tackle this crisis alone. "We cannot overcome such difficulties on our own, and it's by standing together that we'll successfully meet this huge challenge."