6 Mar 2006

Paris allocates New Caledonia another 500 million US dollars over five years

7:24 am on 6 March 2006

The French overseas territories minister, Francois Baroin, says development funding for New Caledonia is being increased and will see the French government allocate 500 million US dollars over the next five years.

Speaking in Noumea, Mr Baroin said the boost was to showcase New Caledonia as a window of Europe in the Pacific and to help the territory's efforts to re-balance the economy in favour of the less developed Kanak north.

Funding contracts signed with New Caledonian leaders earmark spending for housing, employment and health care.

Financial transfers to New Caledonia from France now amount to about 1,200 million US dollars a year - a sum that includes the tax breaks and salaries of public servants that are paid by Paris.