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Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Partnership between Lao PDR and the World Bank

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World Bank Vice President James W. Adams visits Lao PDR to mark half a century of cooperation between the Government of Lao PDR and the World Bank

Lao PDR and the World Bank: 50 Years of Partnership

VIENTIANE, Lao PDR, November 8th, 2011 – 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of cooperation between Lao PDR and the World Bank Group, a partnership that has made an important contribution to shaping Lao PDR’s impressive economic growth and progress in overcoming poverty.

“Today we can take pride in the achievements of our enduring partnership. Lao PDR has had remarkable success in lifting millions of people out of poverty and improving their lives. In less than a generation, the incidence of poverty in Lao PDR has dropped from about 50% to just a little over 25%,” said James W. Adams, Vice President for East Asia and Pacific Region for the World Bank Group. “Lao PDR’s commitment to development has delivered electricity to most households, education to most children, and roads to many villages that were once inaccessible,” he added.

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Mr. Adams’s comments came at the end of a three-day visit to the country during which he joined Lao government officials in activities celebrating half a century of partnership and remarkable achievements in poverty reduction and economic growth. In his visit, Mr. Adams attended a public exhibition displaying how the partnership between the Government of Lao PDR and the World Bank has progressed over the years. He also met senior Lao officials to discuss Bank’s commitment to expand support to Lao PDR.

Over the 50 years Lao PDR-World Bank partnership has evolved with changing global context and advances in development best practice and knowledge. In the 1970’s, the World Bank assisted in areas such as reconstruction needs and food security. Later, with growing engagement the emphasis shifted to expanding access to social services and infrastructure, and then to developing institutions and policy frameworks needed for strong economic management. Over the past decade, the economy of Lao PDR grew an average 6.4% per annum and poverty declined from 46% in 1993 to 27% in 2008. The Government moved steadily with an impressive reform agenda, outlined in the 7th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) that has the goal of graduating from Least Developed Country (LDC) status by 2020.

“Today the Government of Lao PDR and the World Bank Group enjoy a constructive working relationship to discuss key reform agenda and policy issues. The country has benefitted from not only financial contributions but also analytical work and policy advice from the World Bank Group,” said H.E Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR."I hope that the World Bank Group will continue to be our partner for years to come with the common objective of poverty reduction and inclusive development in Lao PDR,” he added.

The 50th Anniversary of Partnership comes as the World Bank Group finalizes its new Country Partnership Strategy for Lao PDR which supports the Government’s 7th NSEDP. Lao PDR’s engagement with the international community, including development partners, has strengthened particularly over the past decade, and the country is successfully integrating into the regional and global economy. Looking ahead, together with other partners, the World Bank Group looks forward to expanding its support to the Government of Lao PDR to achieve its objectives and enable the people of Lao PDR to realize their potential.

For more information about the World Bank in Lao PDR, please visit:
Media Contacts in Vientiane:
Viengsamay Srithirath
Meriem Gray

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