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Greater Mekong Subregion investment framework backs Lao development
Publication Date : 12-12-2013
The Lao government has welcomed the new regional investment framework for the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) as it will support the implementation of its policy to liberate the landlocked nation from least developed country status.
“In the context of the Lao PDR, we see that the GMS Regional Investment Framework will contribute significantly to the implementation of the seventh National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2011 to 2015 and support the Lao PDR's graduation from the least developed status,” GMS Minister for Laos, Noulinh Sinbandhit said yesterday.
Noulinh, who is also minister of natural resources and environment, made the comments while delivering a speech to open the 19th GMS Ministerial Conference at Don Chan Palace hotel yesterday.
The meeting, which was attended by ministers and deputy ministers from GMS countries as well as the Asian Development Bank Vice President, yesterday endorsed the new regional investment framework.
The framework, which will be implemented over the next decade, comprises more than 200 investment projects worth some US$50 billion in total.
Within the framework, the GMS countries will focus on multi-modal and inter-modal transport projects including logistics centres and cross border facilities. The improved logistics and transport facilities will help facilitate the flow of goods and trade throughout the region.
The framework also supports the promotion of renewable energy and increasing the regional electricity trade throughout the GMS. Laos has the potential to develop up to 28,000 MW of hydropower if all projects are realised and improved regional power connectivity will help Laos export more energy to the region.
The regional investment framework also responds to emerging concerns and challenges in the agriculture and environment sectors such as prudent management of natural resources, building climate resilience and enhancing agricultural competitiveness as well as promoting food safety and security.
Noulinh said with the new regional investment framework, Laos expects to gain major support from the international community and donors to develop infrastructure and institutional capacity so as it can connect itself with the region, one of the main conditions to facilitate and boost investment in the cou ntry.
“Having greater physical connectivity is not enough. To ensure inclusive growth, the transport links being established must also be accompanied by investment in complementary facilities and services, innovation and capacity building,” he said.
The ultimate objective is to spread the benefits of the increased trade, investment, tourism and other economic flows across borders, thereby boosting employment, incomes and access to services for the populations along and around the economic corridors.
Noulinh said Laos is making tremendous efforts to implement its legal commitments under the pioneering GMS Cross Border Transport Agreement (CBTA) and has enacted necessary laws and regulations to ensure they are now all in line with WTO requirements.
He also urged GMS member countries to pay attention to ensure that the development of the region is sustainable and does not impose an undue burden on the environment by adopting the appropriate environmentally sound technologies.