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Laos Makes Great Strides in Development: World Bank

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Reconfigurations in national Laos has made great progress in development, and extreme poverty has fallen below 24 percent which means that people’s living conditions have improved, particularly among households with access to electricity.

This information was revealed by the World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, after ending her first official short working visit to Laos last week, according to the World Bank.

During her visits to Vientiane and Khammuan province, Ms Kwakwa said she learnt that people are now enjoying better water supplies and sanitation, and with more roads built, are more connected than ever.

To further help people in Laos to enjoy better living conditions, Ms Kwakwa reaffirmed the World Bank’s strong support for programmes and policies to promote inclusive growth, invest in human development and protect the environment, as identified in the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP).

Laos has many opportunities to maintain strong growth and create more jobs while protecting its rich natural resources, Ms Kwakwa said. She commended Laos for its increased focus on green growth, which focuses on maintaining robust income growth and development while protecting the environment.

“The World Bank Group supports the Lao authorities’ strategy to pursue diversified, green growth, with a view to advancing beyond Least Developed Country status and providing lasting and accessible opportunities for better health, nutrition and education services, as well as more jobs for the country’s poor.”

The World Bank Group is committed to providing financing for critical programmes and investments in Laos in both the private and public sectors.

Key investments expected to benefit from World Bank Group support include programmes to improve the trade and business environment, improve access to high quality education and health care, reduce the incidence of malnutrition, and support environmental protection and sustainable national resources management.

Through the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group’s private sector development arm, investments and advisory assistance aim to enhance access to finance, generate new jobs, and promote sustainability standards in renewable energy projects.

About 44 percent of children in Laos are stunted, one of the highest rates in the world. In Xekong and Phongsaly provinces, more than 60 percent of children are stunted.

“The NSEDP correctly puts the development of human resources first, as strong education, skills, and health will allow people to participate in the growing Lao economy, said Ms Kwakwa.

“Chronic malnutrition among young children is a major challenge, and the World Bank supports the government’s Health Governance and Nutrition Development Programme to help improve child nutrition by focusing on infant and child feeding practices through a national behaviour change campaign.”

During her visit, Ms Kwakwa also met with Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, other high-level government officials and representatives from development partners, the private sector and civil society.

 

Source: Vientiane Times