WASHINGTON, September 30, 2013 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$20 million in financing for Lao PDR’s Ninth Poverty Reduction Support Operation (PRSO 9). This program will support policy and institutional reforms that enable the sustainable management of revenues from the natural resources sector to deliver improved public services.
Since 2004, eight annual PRSOs – with total disbursements of US$108 million – have already helped the Government’s reform efforts to foster economic growth, reduce poverty, and address challenges in human development and vulnerabilities. In particular, PRSO support has helped implement more transparent rules for trade and investment, develop a stronger framework for the regulation and taxation of natural resources, strengthen public revenue management, and improve sector planning in the health and education sectors.
PRSO 9, which supports the Government’s priorities as outlined in the National Socio-Economic Development Plan, focuses on policy areas critical for Lao PDR’s development, which increasingly relies on the sustainable development of natural resources. These key policy areas aim to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination and management of public finances, as well as sustainable revenue management, particularly in the mining and hydropower sectors. PRSO 9 also supports reforms to improve the investment and trade climate, and targets improvements in public service delivery to ensure that the proceeds of natural resource development lead to better health and education outcomes for the people of Lao PDR.
The PRSO 9 is an important part of the World Bank Group's Lao PDR Country Partnership Strategy 2012-2016, endorsed by its Board of Executive Directors in March 2012. This partnership strategy aims to enhance competitiveness and connectivity, sustainable natural resource management, and inclusive development by strengthening public sector management.