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World Bank Group Supports Public-Private Partnership for Major Roadway Improvement Project in Lao PDR

February 4, 2014

Vientiane, Lao PDR, February 4, 2014—The World Bank Group and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport are reaching out to private and public sector investors for a public-private partnership aimed at enhancing the traffic capacity of National Road 13, a two-lane highway that serves as the main north-south thoroughfare in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The project aims to increase the volume of trade and tourism in the country and improve the lives of the people living along the route who will benefit from increased connectivity.  

Alongside the World Bank and IFC, the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility, a multi-donor trust fund that provides technical assistance to governments in developing countries, initially supported the government by identifying this major roadway improvement project as a priority.

Supported by IFC and the World Bank, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport is holding a workshop today to gain better understanding about public-private partnerships in the road sector, learn more about investing in Lao PDR’s road sector and issues around road asset management. The workshop will also look into best practice examples in managing public-private partnerships in the road sector. Today’s event is the first of several to be rolled out with the government over the next 12 months in Vientiane and across East Asia Pacific.

“The government recognizes the need to expand and improve its national road network in response to a rapid increase in traffic, to improve road safety and to ease congestion. The project will ensure that the roads will be well-built and maintained, and affordable for its users,” said Sommad Pholsena, Minister of Public Works and Transport. “Improving National Road Number 13 through public-private partnerships is expected to serve as a benchmark for future projects in Lao’s transport sector.”

The government of Lao PDR plans to invite bids for construction in the middle of 2015. By 2040 the expected traffic would exceed the capacity of Road 13 by more than two times.  The new road development, anticipated to be completed in 2017, aims to increase road capacity, avoid serious traffic problems and facilitate ease of transit for commercial and non-commercial vehicles.

Following the workshop this week, IFC will offer a tailored training to about 30 officials from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport focusing on the essentials of public-private partnerships from planning to managing a bid and implementing a concession. 

Throughout the duration of the project, the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility and the World Bank’s International Development Association will continue supporting the government in developing a regulatory framework for highway public-private partnerships and building the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to foster project replication in the future.  

“We will support the ministry to build knowledge and understanding of public-private partnerships and work with the government to increase foreign investment in Lao PDR,” said Edgar Saravia, Manager of Public-Private Partnerships, IFC Advisory Services, East Asia and the Pacific.

“The World Bank Group – IFC and the World Bank – is bringing our respective expertise to support the Lao government on designing and implementing a successful public-private partnership to expand and maintain Road 13, the national backbone highway,” said Keiko Miwa, the World Bank Country Manager for Lao PDR. “We hope this will serve as a model for other public-private partnerships in the country.” 

About the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.ifc.org, www.worldbank.org, and www.miga.org.

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