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IFC Vice President Promotes Private Sector Support to Spur Lao PDR’s Development

Vientiane, Lao PDR, August 18, 2010 - To support Lao PDR’s economic growth, IFC plans to support the further development of the country’s infrastructure, energy and financial sectors and maximize the contributions from private companies for poverty alleviation, said Rashad R. Kaldany, Vice President for Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa at IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.
Kaldany, who is visiting Vietnam and Lao PDR this week, discussed opportunities for scaling up IFC’s partnership with Lao PDR during meetings with private sector partners and senior government officials in Vientiane on Tuesday. The talks centered on IFC’s support for the government’s development agenda by encouraging investment and private sector participation in areas such as hydropower. Kaldany met with Minister of Finance Somdy Douangdy, Minister of Mines and Energy Soulivong Daravong, and Mr. Vanhkham Voravong, Deputy Managing Director of Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao, among others.
IFC’s strategy in Lao focuses on developing the private sector as a catalyst for economic development, promoting inclusive growth through improved access to infrastructure, and supporting environmentally and socially sustainable growth – particularly through renewable energy and sustainable development of Lao’s natural resources.
“Lao PDR is endowed with natural resources and is strategically located in one of the fastest growing regions in the world,” said Kaldany. “The increased interest in the hydro and mining sectors bodes well for continued economic growth. Our focus is to support the development of these resources in a sustainable and environmentally sound manner and that the projects contribute to improving people’s lives.”
Last month, IFC, through its joint World Bank-IFC sub-national initiative, extended a $15 million loan to Electricite du Laos, the largest utility company in Lao PDR, to expand its electrical grid to 37,000 rural households in central and southern parts of the country, supporting phase two of the country’s Rural Electrification Program.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .