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Lao People's Democratic Republic

Sustainable Growth in Lao PDR Will Lead to Poverty Reduction and Better Lives for All

Victoria Kwakwa's picture



My visit to Lao PDR this week has convinced me that this nation is moving toward the right path to sustained economic growth, which could lead to less poverty and better lives for all of its people.
 
Over the past two decades, Lao PDR has made significant development progress. It is one of the fastest growing economies in East Asia, with GDP growth averaging 8 percent a year since 2000. Lao PDR also successfully met the Millennium Development Goal of reducing extreme poverty, based on its national poverty line, to below 24 percent by 2015 from 33.5 percent in 2002.
 
As I have witnessed during my trip, people are enjoying better living conditions, with improved access to water supply, sanitation, roads, and power. Indeed, Lao PDR’s electrification program is one of the most successful in the world, and more than 90 percent of households now have access to electricity. Lao PDR also has built 50 percent more road surfaces in the last decade, and two-thirds of all Lao villages are now connected by all-season roads.

The logical next step toward gender equality: Generating evidence on what works

Sudhir Shetty's picture
© World Bank
College students in Vietnam. © World Bank


As in much of the rest of the developing world, developing countries in East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) have made progress in closing many gender disparities, particularly in areas such as education and health outcomes. Even on the gender gaps that still remain significant, more is now known about why these have remained “sticky” despite rapid economic progress. 

Ensuring that women and girls are on a level playing field with men and boys is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. It is right because gender equality is a core objective of development. And it is smart because gender equality can spur development. It has been estimated, for instance, that labor productivity in developing East Asia and Pacific could be 7-18% higher if women had equal access to productive resources and worked in the same sectors and types of jobs as men.

Strengthening Lao PDR’s financial system by making room for failure

José de Luna-Martínez's picture


 

To function properly, a financial system needs to have two doors in place: an “entry” and an “exit”. The first one enables qualified local or foreign institutions to enter the marketplace to provide innovative products and services – such as savings, investments, credits, payments and insurance – to households and firms at competitive prices. The second facilitates the rapid and orderly dissolution of those financial intermediaries that are not able to survive competition, manage risks properly, or comply with rules and regulations.

Malnutrition denies children opportunity and stunts economic development

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture

Nearly 50 years ago, books such as Asian Drama: An Inquiry Into The Poverty Of Nations, by the Swedish economist and Nobel laureate Gunnar Myrdal, offered a dire prediction of famine and poverty for the region in coming decades.

How to scale up financial inclusion in ASEAN countries

José de Luna-Martínez's picture
MYR busy market

Globally, around 2 billion people do not use formal financial services. In Southeast Asia, there are 264 million adults who are still “unbanked”; many of them save their money under the mattress and borrow from so-called “loan sharks”, paying exorbitant interest rates on a daily or weekly basis. Recognizing the importance of financial inclusion for economic development, the leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have made this one of their top priorities for the next five years.
 
Last week, the World Bank Group presented the latest data on financial inclusion in ASEAN to senior representatives of the ministries of finance and central banks of all 10 ASEAN member countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). The session, held in Kuala Lumpur, is one of the joint activities the new World Bank Research and Knowledge Hub and Malaysia is undertaking to support financial inclusion around the world.
 

How can rapidly aging East Asia sustain its economic dynamism?

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: 中文
Panos Agency


In the last three decades, East Asia has reaped the demographic dividend. An abundant and growing labor force powered almost one-third of the region’s per capita income growth from the 1960s to the 1990s, making it the world’s growth engine.
 
Now, East Asia is facing the challenges posed by another demographic trend: rapid aging. A new World Bank report finds that East Asia and Pacific is aging faster – and on a larger scale – than any other region in history.
 
More than 211 million people ages 65 and over live in East Asia and Pacific, accounting for 36 percent of the global population in that age group. By 2040, East Asia’s older population will more than double, to 479 million, and the working-age population will shrink by 10 percent to 15 percent in countries such as Korea, China, and Thailand.
 
Across the region, as the working-age population declines and the pace of aging accelerates, policy makers are concerned with the potential impact of aging on economic growth and rising demand for public spending on health, pension and long-term care systems.
 
As the region ages rapidly, how do governments, employers and households ensure that hard-working people live healthy and productive lives in old age? How do societies in East Asia and Pacific promote productive aging and become more inclusive?
 

Five facts about rice and poverty in the Greater Mekong Sub-region

Sergiy Zorya's picture

The Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) is a major global rice producer and exporter but its population suffers from serious levels of poverty and malnutrition.
 
Spanning six countries – China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam – the region is home to 334 million people. Nearly 60 million of them are involved in rice production, growing collectively over 44% of the world’s rice. All of the countries, except China, are net exporters of rice. This means they have more rice available than required for domestic consumption. Yet, nearly 15% of the population is seriously malnourished and about 40% of children under five are stunted, in other words, too short for their age as a result of under nutrition.
 

We must prepare now for another major El Niño

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: 中文
El Niño is back and may be stronger than ever.
 
A wooden boat is seen stranded on the dry cracked riverbed of the Dawuhan Dam during drought season in Madiun, Indonesia's East Java province.  October 28, 2015 © ANTARA FOTO/Reuters/Corbis



The latest cyclical warming of Pacific Ocean waters, first observed centuries ago and formally tracked since 1950, began earlier this year and already has been felt across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Weather experts predict this El Niño will continue into the spring of 2016 and could wreak havoc, because climate change is likely to exacerbate the intensity of storms and flooding in some places and of severe drought and water shortages in others.

El Niño’s impacts are global, with heavy rain and severe flooding expected in South America and scorching weather and drought conditions likely in the Horn of Africa region.

ถึงเวลาที่ต้องสร้างความแข็งแกร่งให้กับการลดความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติในเอเชียตะวันออกและแปซิฟิก

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
ใน PDF: Korean | Khmer

ทุกครั้งที่ผมทราบข่าวว่ามีภัยพิบัติทางธรรมชาติเกิดขึ้น ผู้คนบาดเจ็บเสียชีวิต บ้านเรือนพังเสียหาย ชีวิตความเป็นอยู่ของผู้คนที่ประสบภัยต้องเปลี่ยนแปลงไป ผมรู้ว่าเราต้องทำอะไรสักอย่างเพื่อช่วยลดผลกระทบอันน่าสลดใจนี้ แทนที่จะรอให้มันเกิดขึ้นอีก

เรามีโอกาสจะผลักดันเรื่องนี้ในการประชุมนานาชาติเรื่องการลดความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติที่จัดขึ้นปีนี้ ณ เมืองเซนได ประเทศญี่ปุ่น เพื่อสรุปแนวทางการดำเนินงานกรอบการดำเนินงานเฮียวโกะ ระยะที่ 2 (Hyogo Framework for Action-HFA2) ซึ่งเป็นแนวทางในการบริหารจัดการความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติแก่ผู้กำหนดนโยบายและผู้มีส่วนเกี่ยวข้องในระดับนานาชาติ การประชุมครั้งนี้ถือเป็นโอกาสที่จะตั้งเป้าหมายในการลดความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติและต่อสู้กับความยากจนอีกด้วย

ภัยพิบัติจากธรรมชาติมีมูลค่าความเสียหายมหาศาล ในรอบ 30 ปีที่ผ่านมา มีผู้เสียชีวิตไปแล้ว 2 ล้าน 5 แสนคน และสร้างความสูญเสียเป็นมูลค่า 4 ล้านล้านเหรียญสหรัฐฯ นอกจากนี้ยังส่งผลกระทบให้การพัฒนาชะงักลง

ในภูมิภาคเอเชีย การพัฒนาเขตเมืองอย่างรวดเร็วผนวกกับการวางผังเมืองยังไม่มีคุณภาพได้เพิ่มความเสี่ยงให้เมืองต่าง ๆ เป็นอย่างมาก โดยเฉพาะเมืองที่ตั้งอยู่แถบชายฝั่งและลุ่มแม่น้ำที่มีประชากรอาศัยอยู่หนาแน่น พายุไต้ฝุ่นไห่เยี่ยนได้คร่าชีวิตผู้คนกว่า 7,350 คนในฟิลิปปินส์ เมื่อปี 2556 แล้วยังส่งผลโดยตรงให้ความยากจนเพิ่มขึ้นร้อยละ 1.2

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