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IFC and Government of Canada Promote Public-Private Partnerships to Drive Investments in Lao PDR’s Key Sectors

Vientiane, Lao PDR, February 22, 2019 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Government of Canada, in partnership with the Ministry of Planning and Investment held a workshop on public-private partnerships today in Vientiane. The aim is to boost investments in several key sectors in Lao PDR and guide the PPP policy dialogue between the government, its development partners, the private sector, and other stakeholders.
With economic growth exceeding 7.0 percent on average per annum over the last decade, Lao PDR is one of the fastest growing economies in the East Asia and the Pacific region. However, with constrained fiscal resources and growing infrastructure needs, the government is looking to mobilize investments from the private sector, which accounts for over 80 percent of gross domestic product and is crucial to driving future economic growth.
This workshop aligns with the government’s commitment to adopting strategic policy reforms to facilitate PPPs and mobilize additional financing. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), recent reforms—including formulation of a Prime Ministerial PPP Decree and creation of a PPP Unit in MPI—are expected to facilitate the developing, structuring, procuring, and implementing PPPs in sectors such as infrastructure and health, among others.
“Promotion of PPP investment scheme under the situation, where the government is facing a fiscal constraint, would hugely help to relieve the fiscal pressure resulted from the amount of investment needed to develop public infrastructure and deliver public services,” said Dr. Souphan Keomixay, Minister of Planning and Investment. “Moreover, the PPP scheme would help to significantly improve efficiency and effectiveness in investment projects, while mitigating exposure to different risks by the public sector throughout the project life cycle. Therefore, it would help to materialize the socio-economic development plan toward the vision of “sustainable and green growth”.
The one-day event brings together experts from Canada and IFC, senior government representatives, PPP practitioners, and policymakers to share their knowledge on how PPPs could work as a viable tool in mobilizing private investments. They will present case studies from emerging economies on structuring and implementing PPP schemes in relevant sectors, ranging from transportation and power transmission infrastructure to tourism and healthcare services. This will provide input for the government’s next steps as it formulates its own PPP program.
“For thirty years, Canada has been a pioneer in the use of public-private partnerships. We are proud to share our best practices so that Lao stakeholders can apply this innovative financing mechanism to major infrastructure and energy projects which will advance the country’s sustainable economic growth,” said Timothy Edwards, Chargé d’affaires, Embassy of Canada in Lao PDR.
“IFC works with governments to help find PPP solutions that are tailored to the local context. We are committed to helping the Lao PDR government through PPPs, thereby increasing the role of private sector in the economy,” said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC Country Manager for Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam. “With extensive global experience and expertise in structuring PPPs to international standards, IFC is well-equipped and keen to explore Lao PDR’s power sector, especially transmission facilities, airport transportation, and even unconventional sectors including tourism and forestry.”
IFC has been advising governments for the last 30 years, and has worked on 360 privatizations and PPPs in over 100 countries. Over the last decade, IFC has mobilized around $22 billion of private investments across infrastructure subsectors including power, transportation, health, water supply, and sanitation, among others, and is currently advising on 70 transactions globally.
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
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About Embassy of Canada
The Office of the Embassy of Canada in Laos opened in 2015 with a mandate to strengthen political relations with the Lao government, increase two-way trade and investment, and serve growing people-to-people links between Canada and Lao PDR. Infrastructure and clean technologies are priority sectors for the Embassy’s commercial program in Lao PDR, including promotion of Canada’s world-leading expertise in PPPs. The Government of Canada provided nearly $7 million in development and capacity-building assistance to Lao PDR in 2017 in fields such as disaster relief, border management, migrant labor, skills training, and unexploded ordnance (UXO).