|World Bank Country Manager for Laos Keiko Miwa speaks at a press conference in Vientiane, Laos' capital, on June 25, 2012. The World Bank launched its new Country Partnership Strategy for Laos for 2012-2016, and spoke well of the Laos' achievements in the last five years at a press conference here on Monday. (Xinhua/Alan Liu)
VIENTIANE, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank launched its new Country Partnership Strategy for Laos for 2012-2016, and spoke well of the Laos' achievements in the last five years at a press conference here on Monday.
The World Bank has been working in partnership with the Lao government to promote development for the past decades with considerable gains. The Country Partnership Strategy lays out the World Bank's strategic approach to supporting the implementation of the Lao government's Seventh National Socio-Economic Development Plan.
The new strategy, with an overarching goal of sustainable and inclusive development, will focus on three measurable objectives: competitiveness and connectivity, sustainable natural resources management, and inclusive development. These three goals will be linked by a cross-cutting theme of strengthening public sector management.
Speaking at the press conference, the World Bank Country Manager for Laos Keiko Miwa painted an optimistic picture of the country's recent progress, "The GNI (Gross National Income) has increased dramatically over the last five years reaching 1,100 U.S. dollars in 2011, with this Laos is now a lower middle income economy. We are expecting this economy to grow on average about 7. 6 percent over the next five years. Inflation has been checked and foreign investment has more than doubled in five years."
The previous 2006-2011 World Bank Country Assistance Strategy was evaluated by the World Bank to have been implemented satisfactorily. This rating places it in the top two among the forty countries implementing assistance/partnership strategies over the last five years.
The previous assistance strategy had four main objectives: sustaining growth, improving social outcomes and reducing vulnerability, developing capacity and partnership, and supporting the implementation of a major hydropower project called Nam Theun 2.
The new strategy was developed in consultation with the Lao government and the Asian Development Bank. "Funding for many of the programs is co-financed by other development partners such as Australia, European countries, Japan, Switzerland, and the UN agencies," Keiko explained.