The World Bank Group’s Country Director for Myanmar, Cambodia, and Lao PDR, Mariam Sherman, today began her first visit to Laos by meeting the Minister of Finance, Mr. Bounchom Oubonpaseuth.
Ms. Sherman has been World Bank Director for the three Southeast Asian nations since early 2020 but has not previously been able to visit Laos because of COVID-19-related travel restrictions.
During her discussion with the finance minister, Ms. Sherman gave updates on the next World Bank Group Country Partnership Framework for Lao PDR. The framework defines how Laos and the World Bank Group will work together from 2022 through 2026. She emphasized the World Bank’s readiness to support the National Agenda to Address Economic and Financial Difficulties, for example by providing technical advice on debt and dealing with the economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
Mr. Bounchom and Ms. Sherman exchanged views on World Bank technical assistance for debt management and the implementation of performance and policy actions to improve transparency and financial sustainability. They further discussed World Bank programs supporting the Ministry of Finance, including public financial management and the modernization of customs systems, along with the need for continued attention to human capital – health and education support – for Laos’ future economic growth.
This week Ms. Sherman will also meet the Minister of Planning and Investment before traveling to the north for a tour of three provinces. Next week she will visit Borikhamxay and Khammuan before returning to Myanmar.