The World Bank affirms its strong support for inclusive and sustainable development
VIENTIANE, June 23, 2014 – Axel van Trotsenburg, the World Bank’s Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, affirmed the World Bank’s strong commitment to supporting Lao PDR on its path toward sustainable and inclusive development as he concluded a three-day official visit to the country.
“As one of the fastest growing economies in the region, Lao PDR has achieved remarkable progress in reducing poverty. The country now faces the challenge of continuing rapid economic growth and poverty reduction over the longer term,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific.
Mr. van Trotsenburg met with Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Somsavat Lengsavad, Minister of Finance H.E. Dr. Liane Thykeo, and the Central Bank Governor H.E. Mr. Somphao Phaysith to discuss Laos’s growth prospects as well as developments in the fiscal and financial sectors. He welcomed the Government’s measures toward greater fiscal consolidation while noting the importance of protecting pro-poor programs.
Mr. van Trotsenburg visited the Had Ngam village, in the northern province of Luangprabang, to see how families are benefitting from the World Bank-funded Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF), one of the largest multi-sectoral rural poverty reduction programs in Lao PDR.
“The Poverty Reduction Fund empowers local communities to decide their development priorities and manage their development resources,” said Mr. van Trotsenburg. “In Had Ngam, villagers decided to build a school, over a water pump, to shorten the children’s commuting time to school in another village. As a result, school attendance is now increasing. I congratulate the village of Had Ngam for investing in their children’s future.”
Since 2002, more than 1 million people directly benefited from the PRF through some 3,800 subprojects that improved roads, schools, bridges, health dispensaries, water supply points, and irrigation schemes. Today, the second phase of the Poverty Reduction Fund is under implementation which aims to support 1,200 villages in 38 districts and 10 provinces.