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Digital Opportunities for a More Competitive Future in Lao PDR

November 28, 2019

Workshop Co-Hosted by the Government of Lao PDR and the World Bank

  • The objective of this workshop is to bring together government officials, private sector representatives and international experts to discuss the transformative role of the digital economy and digital government, to present the benefits it can bring to the Lao economy and identify current obstacles to succeeding in this digital transformation. It also aims to present best practice examples as to how the Government of Lao PDR can strengthen the required enabling environment and facilitate faster digital adoption across the country. Most of the sessions will be in Panel format, encouraging interaction between speakers and with the audience.

    Download - Summary of Key Findings

  • 0900-0915

    Opening Remarks/Welcome

    -  H.E. Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, Vice Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment

    -  H.E. Mr. Thongsay Xanexaya, Vice Minister, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications

    -  Ms. Viengsamay Srithirath, Acting Country Manager, World Bank


    Session 1: The Digital Opportunity. How are digital technologies transforming economies in the region?

    Moderator: Ms. Natasha Beschorner, Sr. Digital Development Specialist, WBG

    Presentation 1: Mr. Deepak Mishra, Practice Manager

    Presentation 2: Ms. Phavanhna Douangdoupha, Deputy Director General, Department of Planning and Cooperation, MPT


    Mr. Marcus Bartley Johns (Microsoft Regional Director, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Asia)

    Ms. Souphaphone Souannavong (CEO/Founder of Toh Lao) Mr. Souliyo Vongdala (CEO of LOCA)


    Objective: Present the transformative nature of the Digital Economy and outline key economic and policy opportunities digital connectivity can bring if proactively supported; outline also key challenges the changing environment can create


    Session 2: How can Lao PDR realize these opportunities? What are the policy priorities?

    Moderator: Mr. Mombert Hoppe, Sr. Trade Economist, WBG

    Presentation: Ms. Piyanuch Wuttisorn, Secretary-General Office of National Digital Economy and Society Commission (ONDE)


    Mr. Sirisamphanh Vorachith (Director General, Economic Research Institute for Industry and Trade, MOIC)

    Ms. Nguyen Dieu Huong (Division of International Affairs, Vietnam E-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency, Ministry of Industry and Trade)

    Mr. James Whitehead (CEO, Digital Classifieds Lao Sole Co., Ltd.)


    Objective: Discuss key elements of the enabling environment in Lao PDR requiring attention such as internet connectivity (cost, reliability), payments, skills, consumer protection, data security, skills, logistics and last-mile-connectivity; discuss need, priorities, and plans for addressing them in a whole-of-government approach


    Session 3: Getting the basics right – improved internet connectivity Moderator: Mr. Neil Carabine, King & Wood Mallesons

    Presentation: Dr. Chaymaly Phaksoum, Deputy General Director, Lao Telecommunication Regulatory Authority


    Mr. Bounmy Malavong (Deputy General, UNITEL)

    Mr. Anousa Souannavong (Executive Director, Cyberia)

    Mr. Mr. Piyawat Jriyasetapong (Deputy Managing Director, LTC)


    Objective: Discuss key policy approaches to improve private-sector driven (and financed) internet connectivity


    Session 4: Enhancing trust in online services. Digital payments and secure online transactions.

    Moderator: Mr. Phongsavanh Phomkong, IFC Country Representative - WBG

    Presentation: Ms. Urzsula McCormack, King & Wood Mallesons (financial, legal) Panel:

    Mr. Soulysak Thamnuvong (Director General, Payment System Department, BOL) Ms. Phonesavanh Chanthavon (Director Consumer Protection Division, MOIC) Ms. Visoudala Vitaxay (Head of BCEL Community Money Express (BECOME), Treasury and International Service Division)


    Objective: Discuss specific challenges and solutions to improving the regulatory environment in the area of digital payments, electronic signatures, data security and consumer protection


    Summary and Conclusions

    Summarize key take-aways and next steps.


    Mme. Phonevanh Outhavong, Director General, Ministry of Planning and Investment Mr. Phonepasith Phissamay, Director General, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications

    Ms. Viengsamay Srithirath, Acting Country Manager, WBG