WASHINGTON D.C., June 23, 2015 — To enable the construction of vital infrastructure including schools, health clinics, roads and drinking water systems for poor communities across Laos, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$11.6 million in new financing for Lao PDR’s Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF).
The objective of the PRF is to help improve access to and utilization of basic infrastructure and services for poor communities, and to achieve this using inclusive development processes, with an emphasis on sustainability.
The financing is being provided in response to a request from the Lao government and allows the PRF to scale up some of the results of the project.
“Since the second phase of the PRF project began in October 2011, more than 450,000 members of rural communities have in provinces such as Houaphan, Attapeu and Sekong have benefitted from it,” said Mr. Ulrich Zachau, Country Director of the World Bank for Southeast Asia.
Specifically, the additional funding will finance about 200 additional infrastructure sub-projects (in areas such as education, health, roads and irrigation); enable the continuation of a livelihoods and nutrition pilot project, and support a new government sanitation program on a pilot basis.
The draft 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) recognizes that improving access to basic education infrastructure, safe water and roads is critical to address rural poverty. Access to infrastructure has to be improved if the overall policy goal of the NSEDP - graduation from Least Developed Country status by 2020 – can be met.
“Lao PDR’s Poverty Reduction Fund has contributed to a 37 percent increase in the use of health services, a 76 percent increase in access to safe water resources and a 30 percent increase in access to all-weather roads in target villages across the country. These are remarkable achievements,” said Zachau. “The new financing for the project will help expand the reach of the project and improve these results further.”
The PRF was established by the Lao Government in 2002 and is part of the Government Office.