USAID Gives USD 5.6 Million to Address Impact of Covid on Education and Economic Growth in Laos

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Deputy Administrator (DA) for Policy and Programming for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Isobel Coleman and Vice Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr. Manothong Vongsay at the ceremony.
Deputy Administrator (DA) for Policy and Programming for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Isobel Coleman and Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr. Manothong Vongsay at the ceremony.

Isobel Coleman, Deputy Administrator (DA) for Policy and Programming for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has announced USD 5.6 million in additional assistance to address the impacts of COVID-19 on economic growth and primary education in Laos.

DA Coleman highlighted USAID’s support for women-owned Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with her announcement of an additional USD 3 million COVID-19 economic recovery grant to Laos’ Competitiveness and Trade project.

The project is implemented by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the World Bank, with financial support from the World Bank, USAID, Australia and Ireland. The grant will support Laos in its efforts to improve the business environment and assist Lao businesses to recover from COVID-19.

This investment is expected to foster investment, increase the competitiveness of Laos and its MSMEs and ultimately create better-paying jobs for the next generation of Lao people.

DA Coleman also announced a new USD 2.6 million USAID grant to UNICEF to support early childhood and primary education in Laos.  The grant will also address issues in the education sector posed by COVID-19 in Laos and expand the Government of Laos’ approach in delivering quality learning opportunities for children nationwide, particularly children from ethnic groups, and children with disabilities.

The support aligns with USAID’s initiative to help children gain literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional skills that are the foundation to future learning and success; promote and prioritize country-focus and ownership; strengthen systems and develop the capacity of local institutions; and promote equity and inclusion.

United States development assistance to Laos spans more than a decade.   In education, USAID has supported Laos in improving reading skills for primary-age children with a particular emphasis on non-Lao speaking children and children with disabilities.

In economic growth, USAID is working with Laos and development partners to facilitate trade, improve competitiveness and simplify business regulations.