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Thailand provides loan for Lao infrastructure development
Publication Date : 19-09-2013
The government has signed an agreement with Thailand on loans for two infrastructure projects, one relating to road improvement and the other to water supplies.
The agreement was drawn up between Laos' Ministry of Finance and Thailand's Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) at a ceremony held in Vientiane on Wednesday.
The water supply project will involve water infrastructure improvements in the provinces of Oudomxay, Xayaboury, Bokeo, Savannakhet and Champassak, at a cost of 310 million baht (US$10 million).
The development of water supplies is viewed as a key priority to improving health outcomes in Laos and will make a considerable difference to the livelihoods of people living in rural areas.
Meanwhile the road construction component will involve the upgrading of a road between Khob and Xienghone districts in Xayaboury province which links to Bokeo province, at a cost of 1,390 million baht.
This project is designed to improve the route between the Lao and Thai borders via Xayaboury and Bokeo provinces. It is in line with Lao government policy to improve the road network to neighbouring countries and connect with the economic corridors of the Greater Mekong Subregion.
The road upgrade will facilitate both local and cross border movement, transportation and trade, boosting the economy of the area. It is also expected to provide a significant boost to tourism in Bokeo and Xayaboury.
More and more Thai tourists are coming to the area, especially the Special Economic Zone in Tonpheung district and the popular Bokeo Nature Reserve.
Nowadays, minibuses full of Thai nationals can be seen in Xayaboury and Bokeo provinces, where they go sightseeing, shop at markets, relax in hotels and spend their money in local establishments.
In 2011, 2.7 million tourists visited Laos in total, which jumped to 3.4 million in 2012. The government is targeting 3.7 million annual tourist arrivals by 2015, which would generate about US$500 million in revenue. The road network in Bokeo province forms part of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region North-South Economic Corridor, which links Thailand to Yunnan province in China, via Laos.