WASHINGTON, April 27, 2017 – A new partnership between Lao PDR and the World Bank Group focuses on opportunities for all, sustained green growth, and improved access to human and infrastructure services. The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors discussed today the 2017-2021 Country Partnership Framework for Lao PDR, following nationwide consultations with the government and other stakeholders.
“This partnership framework builds on our existing strong relationship, ongoing for more than 50 years,” said Dr. Kikeo Chanthabouly, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment, a key counterpart on the framework development. “It will continue to support the overarching goals of the government of Lao PDR’s 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan.”
The theme of the new framework is Lasting Accessible Opportunities, and it will focus World Bank Group engagement in Lao PDR on four areas matching the National Socio-Economic Development Plan:
- Supporting inclusive growth, including investments in infrastructure, connectivity, agriculture, business climate and public finances
- Investing in people, including addressing malnutrition and vulnerability, and improving education and health services
- Protecting the environment, including disaster risk management and sustainable natural resources management
- A cross-cutting theme of strengthening institutions to establish a rules-based environment
The partnership framework will provide technical assistance and knowledge services, as well as financing of around $240-270 million in concessional loans from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. This comes in addition to the ongoing financing that the World Bank Group is already financing in Lao PDR, which is valued at around $400 million. The International Finance Corporation—the institution of the World Bank Group that provides financing to the private sector—currently has about $40 million in ongoing investments and advisory services. In addition, the World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency will continue to offer political risk insurance to private lenders and investors.
“We welcome both the technical and financial assistance provided by the World Bank Group to support our priority areas of development,” said Mme Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, Deputy Minister of Finance. “In the past decades, poverty in Lao PDR has dropped from 46% in 1993 to 23% in 2013, and we are working together to lower this rate even further.”
“Lao PDR has recorded impressive economic growth and achieved significant development gains. For example, there has been a dramatic increase in household access to electricity, from 15 percent in 1995 to 90 percent in 2015, a drop in maternal mortality rates from 316 per 100,000 live births in 2009 to 220 in 2013, and improved access to infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water supply and more, for nearly 800,000 rural people between 2001 and 2015. In 2013, Lao PDR acceded to the World Trade Organization,” said Ulrich Zachau, World Bank Country Director for Southeast Asia. “Through the new Lao PDR—World Bank Group country partnership, we seek to support country’s fundamental strategic shift toward greener and more resilient growth.”
The framework draws upon lessons from the previous Country Partnership Strategy as well as the recently published Systematic Country Diagnostic, the analysis of constraints and opportunities to development in Lao PDR.