The European Commission has launched two programmes, worth a total of €55m, aimed at supporting sustainable development in Laos.
Commissioner for International Co-operation and Development Neven Mimica visited the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to oversee the official launch of the programmes, in the first official visit of a European Commissioner to the republic since diplomatic relations were established between Laos and the EU in 1975. The programmes are focused on promoting nutritional support and sustainable development in Laos, particularly in the rural regions of the country.
The two programmes announced by Commissioner Mimica are:
- The €50m EU Nutrition Budget Support programme, aimed at facilitating access for Laotians to safe, nutritionally sound food; and
- The ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) Regional Integration Support – Lao People’s Democratic Republic Trade-Related Assistance (Arise Plus) programme, worth €5m, which offers trade-related assistance and support to businesses – with a particular focus on small and medium sized enterprises – in order to promote inclusive, sustainable growth and shore up the country’s resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Commissioner Mimica said: “These new programmes, worth €55m, reaffirm our strong commitment as [a] reliable and long term partner for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. We will continue to support the Lao government in assisting the most vulnerable communities. Together, we are investing in a diversified and sustainable economy that protects our environment and tackles inequalities.”
The EU has distributed €203m in financial support and investment in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic over the financial period spanning 2014 to 2020, nearly three times its investment for the previous period. The republic, which has seen high growth and low inflation over the last 10 years, is expected to graduate out of its current status as a Least Developed Country, defined by the United Nations as ‘low income countries confronting severe structural impediments to sustainable development’, by 2024.