Report from Virtual Consultation Meetings on:
“The Lao PDR's priorities for ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity” — a Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD)
First preparation stage for the next World Bank Group / Lao Government Country Partnership Framework
· Session 1: Government staff, National Assembly members and Secretariat, Academia / Think Tanks;
Sep 22, 2021, 9 am. Co-hosted by World Bank and Ministry of Planning and Investment
· Session 2: Private Sector
Sep 23, 2021, 9 am. Co-hosted by World Bank and Ministry of Planning and Investment
· Session 3: Development Partners, Citizens and Civil Society Organizations
Sep 24, 2021, 9 am. Co-hosted by World Bank and Ministry of Planning and Investment
Over 480 people attended the three sessions, which were conducted in a convivial atmosphere, with no shortage of participation.
The government session offered many endorsements of the plans presented by the SDG and CEM teams. Often mentioned priority issues included agriculture, education, credit for small and medium businesses, and the environment. Various provincial offices put forward local specific priorities, including local connectivity and support for returning migrants. Several described how the country’s macroeconomic challenges were being felt at the local level.
The private sector session featured many searching questions – what and how is the WBG going to do — in general to fix the economy and the debt situation — and about specific sectors, including tourism, agriculture, entrepreneurship, SMEs, and broadly, education. Several participants highlighted the need for a skilled workforce. Again, there was broad consensus on the WBG’s identification of the major issues and support for the avenues proposed.
This final session, for civil society, development partners, and the public, also produced many questions, some outside the scope of the meeting, e.g. on how the country has arrived at this juncture, and on the impacts of the pandemic. The participants took a very broad view and often touched on goals as well as ways of achieving them. Gaps in the proposed analysis were pointed out in:
1. Gender disaggregation
2. Digital development
A theme raised several times, and very often in messages through the Bank’s public channels, is access to credit (i.e. the lack of it) for small farmers. While none of the private citizens who registered for the event through email requests identified themselves in this session, many messages were received, through social media in particular.
At all three sessions repeated calls were made to share the results of the consultation sessions and surveys, and many participants expressed a desire to join the second round of consultations, for the Country Partnership Framework (CPF).
Collated comments from session participants and results from the survey conducted both online and during the three consultation sessions are given below.
Lao PDR-WBG SCD Consultation Results: Sectoral Comments