- Category: Prime Minister Of Lao P.D.R
- Published on 20 June 2012
H.E. Mr. Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister of Lao PDR
at the Opening Ceremony of the 21st World Economic Forum
31 May 2012, Bangkok, Thailand
- Her Excellency Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand,
- Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Royal Thai Government and the World Economic Forum for the warm welcome and excellent arrangements made for the 21st World Economic Forum.
Lao PDR highly values this important Forum being conducted under the theme “Shaping the Region’s Future through Connectivity”. The Forum is being held at the time when ASEAN is in the process of implementing the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, aimed at narrowing the development gaps within ASEAN and moving towards ASEAN Community building by 2015.
As for the East Asia region, there has also been a sign to build an association in the future. The efforts, reflected in various statements and declarations on East Asia cooperation since 1999 in the ASEAN Plus China, Japan and Republic of Korea cooperation framework as well as in the East Asia Summit process, has identified various proposals on connectivity between and among participating countries. Furthermore, the 4th Mekong-Japan Summit held in April 2012 in Tokyo agreed on “Mekong Connectivity” as one of the three main pillars of cooperation between Mekong Countries and Japan. Therefore, I am of the view that active participation of Mekong countries and ASEAN Member States in the implementation of priority projects on connectivity will form a basis for future connectivity in East Asia.
Lao PDR attaches great importance to connectivity and is implementing a policy to transform the country from a land-locked into land-link with neighbouring countries in order to contribute to the national socio-economic development and poverty reduction. To this end, the Lao Government has used its domestic potential combined with external support to build and improve many roads linking North to South and East to West of the country connecting with Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and China; completed the construction of 3 bridges and is building another bridge across the Mekong River to Thailand to be completed this year; and is also building a bridge in the Northern part of the country across the Mekong River connecting with Myanmar. Furthermore, Lao PDR has complpeted the construction of railways linking with Thailand and is cooperating within the ASEAN framework to implement the Singapore-Kunming Railway link project. In the future, it is hoped that Lao PDR can connect with countries in East Asia and India by roads and railways.
These achievements have importantly contributed to the socio-economic development of the country. In the past 5 years (2006-2010), the economic growth rate was at 7.9% per year and the proverty reduction rate was decreased from 33.5% in 2005 to 26% of the total population in 2010. In the next 5 years (2011-2015), the Lao Government plans for the GDP growth rate of no less than 8% per year and the poverty reduction rate to less than 10% of the households in the country by 2015 in order to move towards ASEAN Community and attaining the MDGs goals by 2015, and to lead the country from the Least Developed Country status by 2020. The Lao Government is well aware that there are still many challenges ahead, that need to be addressed and overcome.
From experience in national development during the past thirty years period after the end of the war, we have learned some lessons as follows:
- First of all there should be precise political determination of the country’s Leadership in defining vision and goals on socio-economic development, in accordance with the pace of national development and capacity and the need of the people in order to provide tangible benefits to the people. This has reflected in characteristic of the geographic location of Lao PDR, which not only to develop infrastructure for connecting with neighbouring countries and transforming the country from a landlocked into landlink in the region, but it is also necessary to developn infrastructure in the remote rural areas in order to allow people living in the areas to have access to wider market, education, health care and to reduce poverty.
- Lao PDR attaches importance to economic development in parallel with social development and protection of the environment.
- Political stability, social order and national unity towards sustainable development are also key factors for development.
- We also attaches great importance to the good neighbourliness policy, in particular with bordering countries which share security and prosperity.
- Lao PDR highly appreciates cooperation, investment, assistance and support from international community, which is an important force for acheiving the MDGs goals and removing the country from the Least Developed Country’s status.