ADB backs efforts by Laos to reduce poverty
Launches new partnership to support socio-economic development
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a new Country Partnership Strategy for Laos, which will support implementation of the government's national socio-economic development plan from 2012 to 2016.
The ADB teamed up with the World Bank for a ceremony in Vientiane to officially launch their new aid strategies for Laos, towards fulfillment of the current five-year development plan.
According to the ADB, its new aid strategy, which will run from 2012 to 2016, is designed to help the government diversify the economy in a sustainable and inclusive manner, leading to poverty reduction.
Inclusive growth will focus on rural areas, where the majority of poor people live, through development of road and energy infrastructure, enhancing value chains, improving access to markets and social services, and forging strong rural-urban linkages.
Laos continues to develop rapidly, driven by a natural resources boom (hydropower and mining).
However, major development challenges remain, including achieving some of the non-income Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
"The ADB's Country Partnership Strategy for Laos over 2012-2016 is designed to support the government's seventh national socio-economic development plan and is in line with ADB's Strategy 2020 and the vision of an Asia and Pacific region free of poverty," ADB country director to Laos Chong Chi Nai said.
"The Country Partnership Strategy, which has been prepared in close consultation with the government, development partners, the private sector and civil society, will help Laos to graduate from least developed country status by 2020."
The strategy aims to maximise efficiency and sustainability through larger operations implemented over a longer period; maximise synergies with the Greater Mekong Subregion programme; and increase responsiveness to emerging issues in a rapidly changing economy.
It highlights four thematic areas that will influence the design and focus of activities including private sector development, governance, gender equity and regional cooperation and integration.
The strategy focuses on four core sectors: education, agriculture and natural resources, water supply and other municipal infrastructure and services, and energy. Strengthening public sector management is a crosscutting issue, key to efficient and effective development in Laos.
"At ADB, we believe that with the strong commitment and support of the Lao government and collaboration among development partners, civil society organisations and private sector partners, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in Laos will be achieved as planned," Chong said.