Switzerland extends aid to mountainous provinces

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Switzerland granted more than US$11 million for an extended program to improve public services in the northern mountainous provinces of Hoa Binh and Cao Bang, on Tuesday.

The four-year program, with a total funding of $14 million, will receive $11.23 million from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The remaining funds will be provided by the two provinces' budgets.

Helvetas, the Swiss Association for International Cooperation, will also provide technical assistance for the project.

The project was first introduced to the provinces in 2008. Seven million dollars was set aside to enhance administrative reform through a pilot scheme to decentralize decision-making powers at the commune level.

The program also helped draw socio-economic development plans, set up communal funds to improve infrastructure, provide residents with funding for agricultural production and open training courses on financial management at the commune level.

In its second phase, the program aims to strengthen local planning and improve the delivery of public services in agriculture and rural development.

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