World Bank reaffirms support for Lao green growth initiative

THE World Bank has reaffirmed its commitment to stand with the Lao government as it implements its green growth initiative, according to a senior World Bank official.

“The green growth vision laid out by the government will be key to ensuring that economic growth is more broad-based and does not come at the expense of the Lao PDR’s natural resources,” World Bank vice-president for East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, said as quoted in the Bank’s media release.

“We are pleased to already be working with the Lao PDR on this important agenda and stand ready to continue our strong partnership in the future,” she said.

Kwakwa paid a working visit to Laos from March 27-30 and met Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Somdy Duangdy, Minister of Planning and Investment Souphanh Keomixay and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sommad Pholsena.

At the end of her visit, she highlighted the progress in development made by Laos in the past decade and emphasised the importance of supporting a more inclusive and sustainable pattern of economic growth in the future.

“The Lao PDR has grown rapidly and made impressive developmental progress over the past decade. To make its development more inclusive and sustainable, it will be crucial for the Lao PDR to build its human capital, pursue a greener growth path and open up space for more private sector participation. Investments in human capital will raise the productivity of Lao citizens and help them capitalise more fully on economic opportunities,” she was quoted as saying by a World Bank release.

While in Vientiane, Kwakwa met representatives of bilateral and multilateral development partners and the private sector to discuss areas where all stakeholders may be able to increase collaboration for inclusive growth in Laos.

Some of the key themes covered included disaster resilience and response, green growth, connectivity, and doing business.

Kwakwa also visited La district in Oudomxay province, one of the four provinces implementing a multi-sector convergence approach for reducing malnutrition.

While there she heard from district authorities about how this programme will be rolled out and visited a local community to observe some of the interventions, and also interacted with beneficiaries of the scheme.

Kwakwa also visited some of the World Bank’s infrastructure projects, including the Roads Sector 2 Project and the Lao PDR Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Management Project.

These projects seek to reduce the vulnerability of communities to climate change through the design of climate-resilient infrastructure and better preparedness to withstand and respond to natural disasters.

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