Laos-ADB partnership creates sustainable growth
Cooperation between Laos and Asian Development Bank (ADB) has significantly contributed to the country's development, promoting sustainable growth.
Officials from the government and ADB both highlighted the achievement in commemorating the past 50-year partnership between the country and major financial institution.
Since ADB's first loan to the country in 1970, it has provided almost US$2.6 billion in financial and technical support in energy, transport infrastructure, agriculture, water supply and sanitation, municipal infrastructure and services, education, health, banking and finance, as well as regional cooperation and integration.
In his remarks at a commemorative ceremony held in Vientiane on Thursday, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Thongphanh Savanphet spoke about the close cooperation between the country and ADB as an important development partner.
“Since the country became the Lao People's Democratic Republic in 1975, the government and ADB have been working closely on many projects, programmes and activities with the aim of contributing to sustainable economic development, poverty reduction, and improving the living standards of the Lao people,” he stated.
By December 2016, ADB's assistance to Laos reached US$2.57 billion in loans, grants and technical assistance, of which US$2.41 billion was for 93 loan projects and 52 grant projects.
Lao PDR is a founding member of ADB. Since the establishment of the ADB on December 19, 1966, Laos and ADB have strived to understand and respond to the evolving development needs and challenges of the country.
From the beginning, ADB's assistance has focused on integrated agricultural development, with the Vientiane Plain Project undertaking a study on the best to use of the Nam Ngum 1 Dam then being built by a consortium of development partners.
Director General for ADB's Southeast Asia Department James Nugent noted the first cooperation.
“Since our first cooperation with the Lao PDR in 1968, ADB with other development partners has worked closely with the government to promote inclusive economic growth, contribute to poverty reduction, and support sustainable economic and social development,” he said.
Laos and ADB expanded cooperation from agriculture development to power generation and distribution, and road improvement. In 1980, the ADB financed Vientiane Plain Rural Electrification in large swaths of the country bringing electricity to 76 villages in the Vientiane Plain, and expanding the electrification of Luang Prabang paving the way for expanded tourism.
ADB's support to Laos rose steadily in the 1980s, concentrating on road and bridge rehabilitation, improvements, and expansion as improving the transport network was pivotal to government efforts to connect remote villages to urban centres and help develop agriculture and natural resources, and so reduce poverty.
ADB's support to Laos has been continued with focus on both social-cultural and economic sectors.
“ADB is reaffirming its long-term commitment and partnership with the Lao government to continue helping the country achieve its Eighth National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016-2020 goals of inclusive and sustainable growth, and eligibility to graduate from the least development country status by 2020,” Mr Nugent said.
ADB, based in Manila, the Philippines, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. ADB is owned by 67 members with 48 from the region.
To mark the occasion, a photo exhibition has been taking place from April 21-22 at Patuxai.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 22, 2017)