The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) today signed grant agreements worth $125.5 million in total for three projects in the tourism and urban sectors.
The agreements were signed by Deputy Minister of Finance Ms. Thipphakone Chanthavongsa and ADB Country Director to the Lao PDR Mr. Yasushi Negishi at a ceremony in Vientiane. Senior officials from the Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Planning and Investment; Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT); Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism (MICT); and other line ministries also attended the event.
“Vibrant, livable cities and towns play an important role in the development of industry and services, particularly manufacturing, agrobusiness, and tourism,” said Mr. Negishi. “The three grants demonstrate ADB’s commitment to help the Lao PDR sustainably manage urbanization, tourism, and attract investments that create good jobs in a wide range of economic sectors, helping the country to be eligible to graduate from the least developed country status by 2020.”
The $47 million grant for the Second Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project, approved by ADB’s Board of Directors in August 2018, will support MICT’s efforts to rehabilitate last mile access roads to tourism destinations, improve tourism-related urban environmental services, and enhance sustainable tourism management in Louangphabang, Vientiane, and Champasak provinces. The project’s climate resilient transport and urban infrastructure investments and support for tourism capacity building are designed to boost tourism development and deepen the Lao PDR’s economic integration with its neighbors in the GMS and Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The $48 million grant for the Fourth GMS Corridor Towns Development Project, approved in September 2018, will be implemented by MPWT to improve urban environmental services, including the construction of wastewater treatment plants and sewerage networks, solid waste management, and river embankments for flood protection in two corridor towns of Pakxan and Thakhek. The project will also support the preparation of town master plans with climate-resilience and gender-responsive measures for both areas to support growth and regional connectivity.
The third grant, amounting to $30.5 million, is an additional funding for an ongoing ADB-assisted Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project being implemented by MPWT. The additional financing will expand access to safe and reliable water supply and sanitation services in six towns in Attapeu, Xekong, Houaphan, and Louangphabang provinces, as well as improve operational and financial efficiency of provincial water utilities or provincial nam papas in these provinces.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled 32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.