ADB Impressed with Lao Economic Growth

(KPL) In an interview with local media, a senior official of Asian Develoment Bank (ADB) has noted that Laos has recorded a strong economic growth over the last decades with 7.8 percent economic growth per annum recorded over the last 10 years.

“When I look back (over the past) 50 years, I am quite impressed by Laos because they had economic growth between the mid 80s and the mid 90s of 5 percent, from the mid 90s to the mid 20s economic growth of above 6 percent, and the last decade they had economic growth of 7.8 percent. This is quite remarkable. It’s one of high globally, not only in the region, and Laos requires a 7.2 % economic growth in order to graduate from the least developed country status in 2020,” said Mr James Nugent, Director General of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.

Since ADB’s first loan to Laos in 1970, ADB has provided 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, all worth nearly US$2.6 billion 

The notable transport infrastructure development projects Laos and ADB have completed over the past years include the development of Route 13, spanning the length of the country from the Lao-China border in the North to the Lao-Cambodia border in the South;  Route 9, which forms part of the East-West Economic Corridor stretching between Vietnam’s Danang through Laos to Thailand and Myanmar; Route 3 — the Northern Economic Corridor connecting Yunnan and Bangkok, and two large hydropower projects — Thin Hin Boun and Nem Theun 2. The two export-oriented hydropower projects were done well with a sustainable agenda.

Senior Lao government and ADB officials joined a reception on Thursday to celebrate 50 years of development partnership between the Lao PDR and ADB and the 50th anniversary of Laos’s membership in the multilateral institution.  

These included Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mr Somdy Douangdy, Minister of Planning and Investment Mr Souphan Keomixay, Deputy Foreign Minister Mr Thongphane Savanphet, ADB’s Executive Director Mr David F Murchison, and Director General for ADB’s Southeast Asia Department Mr James A. Nugent.

Other key government officials, private sector representatives, development partners, academia, civil society advocates, and member of the media also joined the event.