VIENTIANE, July 23, 2018 – Nicola Pontara, the new World Bank Country Manager for Lao PDR, based in Vientiane, presented his letter of appointment to H.E.Thongphane Savanphet, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs today. Mr. Pontara will be tasked with continuing the strong relationship on sustainable and inclusive development between the World Bank and Lao PDR.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue our exciting work in Lao PDR as we strive to support the country to reduce poverty and increase shared prosperity, through green and efficient growth,” said Mr. Pontara. “Lao PDR has made great gains over the past decade. Looking forward, it is important that all citizens can can continue to reap the gains of development, while also protecting the environment.”
Mr. Pontara, an Italian national, most recently served for three years as Country Manager for Bolivia. He joined the World Bank in 2000 as a Young Professional, and has since held various positions as Economist, Sector Leader, and Program Leader working on poverty reduction and social protection. Before Latin America, he also worked Africa, and in the Middle East.
Mr. Pontara holds a PhD in Economics from the University of London. Mr. Pontara succeeds Mr. Jean-Christophe Carret, who managed the Lao PDR program from July 2017 to March 2018, and subsequently moved to become Country Director in Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The World Bank is supporting 17 active projects in Lao PDR, with current commitments of over US$450 million. The Lao PDR Country Partnership Framework includes programs and projects that support inclusive growth, investing in people, protecting the environment, and strengthening institutions. The country recently agreed on two new projects, the Agriculture Competitiveness Project, and the National Road 13 Improvement and Maintenance Project. The World Bank also supports knowledge and analytical work in Lao PDR in order to inform development policy, including the annual Lao Economic Monitor report.