Laos Partners with WB for Lasting Accessible Opportunities | Lao Tribune

Laos Partners with WB for Lasting Accessible Opportunities

A new partnership framework between the Lao PDR and the World Bank Group focuses on opportunities for all, sustained green growth, and improved access to human and infrastructure services.

The World Bank Country Partnership Framework for the Lao PDR 2017-2021 was presented to stakeholders in Vientiane on May 24, together with the findings of the Systematic Country Diagnostic, and the launch of the annual Lao Economic Monitor publication.

The new framework was developed following nationwide consultations with the government, academics, civil society, development partners, and the privatesector.

This partnership framework builds on our existing strong relationship, ongoing for more than 50 years, said MrKikeoChanthabouly, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment,akey counterpart of the framework development. It will continue to support the overarching goals of the government of the Lao PDR’s 8thNational Socio-Economic Development Plan.

The theme of the new framework is Lasting Accessible Opportunities, and it will focus on the World Bank Group’s engagement inthe Lao PDR on four areas matching the National Socio-Economic Development Plan:

1. Supporting inclusive growth, including investments in infrastructure, connectivity, agriculture, business climate and public finances

2. Investing in people, including addressing malnutrition and vulnerability, and improving education and health services

3. Protecting the environment, including disaster risk management and sustainable natural resources management

4. A cross-cutting theme of strengthening institutions to establish a rules-based environment

The partnership framework will provide technical assistance and knowledge services, as well as financing of around US$240-270 million in concessional loans from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries.

This comes in addition to the ongoing financing that the World Bank Group is already providing tothe Lao PDR, which is valued at around US$400 million.

The International Finance Corporation�the institution of the World Bank Group that provides financing to the private sector�currently has about US$40 million in ongoing investments and advisory services.

In addition, the World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency will continue to offer political risk insurance to private lenders and investors.

We welcome both the technical and financial assistance provided by the Word Bank Group to support our priority areas of development, said Deputy Minister of FinanceThipphakoneChanthavongsa. Over the past decades, poverty in the Lao PDR has dropped from 46 percent in 1993 to 23 percent in 2013, and we are working together to lower this rate even further.

The Lao PDR has recorded impressive economic growth and achieved significant development gains. For example, there has been a dramatic increase in household access to electricity, from 15percent in 1995 to 90 percent in 2015; adrop in maternal mortality rate from 316 per 100,000 live births in 2009 to 220 in 2013; and improved access to infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water supply and more, for nearly 800,000 rural people between 2001 and 2015. In 2013, the Lao PDR acceded to the World Trade Organisation, said Word Bank Country Director for Southeast Asia Ulrich Zachau.

Through the new Lao PDR-Word Bank Group country partnership, we seek to support country’s fundamental strategic shift toward greener and more resilient growth, he added.

The framework draws upon lessons from the previous Country Partnership Strategy as well as the recent Systematic Country Diagnostic, the analysis of constraints and opportunities to development in the Lao PDR.

Source: Lao News Agency