Tag Archives: Lao PDR

Travel Plans? Laos Set to Provide eVisa From June 2019

Laos EVisa Program Planned for June Implementation

Laos has announced it will begin offering electronic visas (eVisa) to foreign tourists and travelers from June this year.

Establishment of the eVisa program will commence in mid-2019, according to a Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs notice issued earlier this month dated March 11.

Laos' eVisa plans announced in note issued via Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Laos’ eVisa plans announced in note issued via Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The move comes as the government takes steps to modernize and ensure visa procedures are faster and more convenient for tourist visa applicants, according to the notice.

It is also another means by which the government hopes to attract more tourism to the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs consular office is working with all other ministries and departments to ensure the comprehensive and timely development of the eVisa program.

The eVisa program, it is hoped, will allow foreign visitors greater access to information and more convenience in visa processing, and will assist in making the country more widely known among tourists.

It comes as policymakers and the private sector seek to capitalize on the benefits of improved connectivity and widen the range of offerings to attract valuable tourism and travel-related income and investment.

© The Laotian Times

 

E-Commerce Benefits Require Access, Digital Connectivity At Right Cost in Laos

Taking Advantage of E-Commerce: Legal, Regulatory, and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR

Barriers such as costs and strength of connectivity, infrastructure, facilitation must be overcome so ongoing development of e-Commerce in Laos can assist more women, small firms, people with physical disabilities, and those in isolated communities to benefit from trade, according to research from World Bank.

Technology, e-Commerce, and connectivity mean the potential for exporting goods and services from Laos has never been greater, yet obstacles remain to fully comprehend and grab some of the many opportunities on offer, according to research released by the multilateral financier, the World Bank.

The rapid growth of e-commerce globally, including in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), helps lower the costs of trade for exporters from Laos and reduces prices for consumers, the research paper entitled Taking Advantage of E-Commerce: Legal, Regulatory and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR (English) has found.

It comes hot on the heels of the critical assessment on offer in the report Digital Connectivity in Lao PDR: Lagging Behind Peers featured by the Laotian Times: “Laos’ Online Connectivity Lagging Behind Peers As World Bank Research Reveals Extent, also in February 2019.

E-Commerce connectivity recommendations from World Bank via Taking Advantage of E-Commerce: Legal, Regulatory, and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR.

E-Commerce connectivity recommendations from World Bank via Taking Advantage of E-Commerce: Legal, Regulatory, and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR.

What is e-Commerce?

“E-commerce refers to the buying and selling of goods and services digitally”, according to the definition used in the research,

“Although limited available information suggests that Lao PDR has a minimal presence of e-commerce, it has the potential to present many opportunities:”

  • E-commerce can help lower the costs of trade for Lao PDR exporters and lower prices for consumers.
  • It can also reduce barriers to people who face disadvantages participating in traditional trade (ie. women, people with disabilities, and isolated communities).

    E-Commerce connectivity recommendations from World Bank via Taking Advantage of E-Commerce: Legal, Regulatory, and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR.

    E-Commerce connectivity recommendations from World Bank via Taking Advantage of E-Commerce: Legal, Regulatory, and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR.

Constraints to the e-commerce environment currently hold Lao PDR back from greater participation.

  • Limited internet connectivity, high costs of payments, incomplete regulatory infrastructure, and high trade facilitation and logistics costs are limiting factors.

The legal and regulatory framework needs strengthening in some areas to support greater participation in e-commerce.

  • Strengthening the protection of consumers participating in e-commerce and developing/implementing legislation for the protection of personal data will be key.
  • Taxation of e-commerce is also a priority policy area.  Any reform should be informed by a careful assessment of costs and benefits to avoid restricting the early growth of e-commerce.

Trade facilitation also needs further reform to avoid posing undue costs on small firms or entrepreneurs trying to enter into e-commerce.

  • The earliest area of growth in international e-commerce would likely be cross-border trade.
  • Small firms and entrepreneurs are least equipped to manage costs related to shipment delays, lack of transparency, and unpredictable regulations.
  • Clarification on regulations for low-value goods imports and a formal framework to streamline the process are necessary.
E-Commerce connectivity recommendations from World Bank via Taking Advantage of E-Commerce: Legal, Regulatory, and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR.

E-Commerce connectivity recommendations from World Bank via Taking Advantage of E-Commerce: Legal, Regulatory, and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR.

The reports key recommendations:

  1. Implement relevant ASEAN approaches to regulatory issues related to e-commerce, with a special focus on consumer protection, privacy, and electronic signatures.
  2. Take a cautious approach to imposing new taxes on e-commerce.
  3. Establish a transparent and consistently applied procedure for handling low-value cross-border trade.
  4. Move away from submission or paper documents for trade clearance and toward electronic submission of documents.
  5. Increase effort to apply risk management principles in processing cross-border shipments.
  6. Confirm the leadership role of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in the coordination of the e-commerce agenda.
Taking Advantage of E-Commerce: Legal, Regulatory, and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR

Taking Advantage of E-Commerce: Legal, Regulatory, and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR

1000 Strong As JICA Volunteers From Japan Surpass Millennium Milestone in Laos

Celebrating 1000 Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers To Laos via JICA.

Warm welcome as the arrival of eleven Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers from JICA takes Japan International Cooperation Agency past the one-thousand milestone in Laos.

Agriculture and Community Development, Education, Health, Law, Public Works, Water Treatment, Sanitation and Waste Management.

These are just some of the many areas in which Laos has seen rapid development over the decades, making the country a safer, healthier, cleaner and more comfortable place to live.

These important areas are also among the many where contributions of grants, aid, and exchanges with Japan have been warmly welcomed.

This includes technical expertise and assistance thanks to no less than one thousand Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV).

●Mr. Takatsugu NAKAYAMA (Environmental and Sanitary Engineering, NUOL, right)One scene of my lecture introducing…

Posted by JICA Laos -ອົງການຮ່ວມມືສາກົນຢີ່ປຸ່ນ- on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 7 ມັງກອນ 2019

The millennial milestone was passed when eleven new Japanese volunteers to Laos together with representatives of their host organizations were welcomed to the Embassy of Japan to Laos in Vientiane on February 4, 2019.

Warm welcomes were provided by Ms. Sisomboun Ounavong, Director General of International Cooperation and Minister to the Embassy of Japan to Laos, Mr. Kuno Kazuhiro.

Posted by Embassy of Japan in Laos ສະຖານທູດຍີ່ປຸ່ນປະຈໍາ ສປປລາວ on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 4 ກຸມພາ 2019

There, volunteers heard of the high regard held for the contributions of JOCV, something recognized by PM Thongloun Sisoulith at a recent event hosting a courtesy call at Government House for World Volunteers Day as reported by Laotian Times.

Members of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCVs) and Japan’s Senior Volunteers (SV) were hosted by the PM for an annual courtesy call and informal exchange on Monday, December 10 where Mr. Thongloun expressed heartwarming appreciation for volunteers’ daily efforts.

Prime Minister Thongloun welcomes visit from Volunteers from Japan via JICA

PM Thongloun meets Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV)

PM Thongloun meets Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV)

PM Thongloun meets Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV)

The volunteers reported on their activities and challenges that they directly are facing on the ground while in response, the Prime Minister made comments on the initiatives being made by the Government of Laos.

Thousand volunteers to Laos among 50,000 to 90 countries

●Ms. Mayumi NISHIMURA (Nurse, Mahosot Hospital, right)This picture was taken when a Japanese newspaper visited us. She…

Posted by JICA Laos -ອົງການຮ່ວມມືສາກົນຢີ່ປຸ່ນ- on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 7 ມັງກອນ 2019

More than 50,000 JICA volunteers have been dispatched to more than 90 countries around the world since the first made their trip so many years ago. The numbers include both junior volunteers (aged under 40 years) and senior volunteers (40 – 69 years).

Volunteer programs “support activities by citizens (of Japan) who wish to cooperate in the economic and social development as well as the reconstruction of developing countries,” JICA’s website states.

“Through these cooperation activities, participating volunteers can not only contribute to the development of partner countries but also gain valuable experience in terms of international goodwill, mutual understanding and an expansion in their international perspectives.

“Widely recognized as a representative Japanese international cooperation program, volunteer activities have not only earned high acclaim from partner countries but are also receiving increased praise in Japan, where expectations for these programs are also rising.”

Posted by JICA Laos -ອົງການຮ່ວມມືສາກົນຢີ່ປຸ່ນ- on ວັນສຸກ ທີ 8 ກຸມພາ 2019

A bridge between diverse people, communities, countries

Find out more about the activities of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers by attending events such as Let’s Travel Local LAOS from March 2-3 at Hidden Cafe at Vientiane.

Lat’s Travel Local Laos Event with JOCV at Hidden Cafe, Vientiane.

JOCV also likely to be spotted at Cool & Kawaii Japan 2019!

Come along and say Konnichiwa!

Posted by Cheer Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers -Jocv- 青年海外協力隊 on ວັນພະຫັດ ທີ 5 ກໍລະກົດ 2018

 

Celebrating 1000 Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers To Laos via JICA.

Celebrating 1000 Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers To Laos via JICA.

Laos’ Online Connectivity Lagging Behind Peers As World Bank Research Reveals Extent

Taking Advantage of E-Commerce: Legal, Regulatory, and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR

“Lao PDR is lagging significantly in terms of accessibility, quality, and affordability of internet services compared to other comparable regional economies,” a new report on digital connectivity states.

The grim assessment comes via The World Bank’s latest report on the country’s online connectivity entitled Digital Connectivity in Lao PDR: Lagging Behind Peers.

“Digital connectivity—access to affordable and reliable internet services—has become a key driver of economic and social development.”

Yet in Laos, according to the report, “by almost every measure,

  • Access to mobile broadband is increasing, but rural and more remote communities are still underserved.
  • Fixed broadband, which is required for high-capacity data transmission, is particularly limited.
  • Prices for internet are comparatively high.  High capacity fixed broadband services are very limited and extremely expensive.
  • The relatively high cost is slowing access, with mobile subscription and broadband internet subscription rates lower than in neighboring countries.
  • There is a minimum retail tariff regime for mobile, voice and data services, and this may reduce the ability of operators to compete on price and services.
  • Quality of service and affordability of internet are continuing concerns that are slowing the introduction and use of digital services and applications.
  • The average 2G/3G connection is on the low side for speed, and while the 4G connection speed falls within regional averages, Lao PDR is the only country in the region with only one operator offering 4G.
  • A qualitative survey of consumer attitudes suggests that consumers find internet speed slow and service unreliable, resulting in low value for money.
  • Regulatory capacity and expertise is increasing but remains comparatively low, further limiting market growth and investment.”

However, it’s not all bad news, with the Bank permitting an obligatory ray of optimism to shine upon its otherwise gloomy appraisal.

“Lao PDR is well-positioned to take advantage of digital connectivity to improve growth, competitiveness, and services provision,” it states “but interventions are needed to ensure that Lao PDR does not fall further behind regional peers.”

The Bank’s recommendations include the following…

  • Policy, legal, and regulatory reforms to stimulate investments in infrastructure needed to improve digital services
  • Increased private participation, with strategic use of public funds to support less commercially viable investments
  • Support for regulatory capacity building to ensure efficient use of resources
  • A review of the status of the national network to identify bottlenecks and infrastructure needs to deliver higher levels of traffic in the future
  • Improved reporting from the industry on access, pricing and service quality
  • Review of minimum retail tariffs for mobile services to determine whether they reduce price and quality competitiveness among operators”

Download the full report via the World Bank here.

Economic Atlas: Decade of Population Trends Revealed in Laos

Socio-Economic Atlast of the Lao PDR

Data and analysis illustrating decade-long trends in population as illuminated by Laos’ censuses have been released in the form of the Socio-Economic Atlas of the Lao PDR – Patterns and Trends from 2005 to 2015.

Undertaken in 2015, the census provides a snapshot on changing demographics between 2005 and 2010 in multiethnic Laos.

“Socio-Economic Atlas of the Lao PDR provides readers with a highly detailed, multidimensional set of insights into geographic and temporal patterns of the demographic, social, and economic characteristics of the population of the Lao PDR.”

“It combines statistical data from the last two Population and Housing Censuses of 2005 and 2015 with detailed geographic information to present a wealth of new information on a large set of highly detailed thematic maps that are accompanied with descriptive texts. ”

Available online without charge, its chapters deal with subjects such as Demography, Migration, Literacy and Education, Health, Ethnicity, Economic Activities, Living Conditions and Poverty.

 

Typhoon Mangkhut Skirts Laos Following Phils, HK, China Landfalls

Typhoon Mangkhut via Goole Maps

Typhoon Mangkhut is on track to miss Laos after tracking data Monday morning had the destructive storm headed roughly West-North-West from Hong Kong towards South-West China.

Nonetheless, residents and visitors to northern and central regions of Laos should remain on alert for heavy downpours on Monday and Tuesday according to the Lao Meteorology and Hydrology Department.

With the storm proceeding over China’s Yunnan province, the result of heavy rainfall in the Mekong-Lancang catchment could cause water levels to rise downstream.

It comes after the severe storm system impacted parts of The Philippines, as well as Hong Kong SAR and the mainland of China with ferocious winds and storm surges seen late last week and over the weekend, leading to loss of life and property that is still being estimated.

According to the Hong Kong Meteorological Observatory, Typhoon Mangkhut will move across the inland area of southern China and weaken gradually today and tomorrow.

Follow the storm’s progress via Google at https://google.org/crisismap/google.com/2018-mangkhut

More information at World Meterological Organization (WMO).

Boy Wonder: Paris’ Prestigious ESMOD Fashion School Awaits Lao Young Design Wunderkind

Lao Fashion Week 2018

Fashion wunderkind Nanthaveth Buppha, known to friends and family by the nickname “Boy”, is getting set for Paris after taking top spot as Lao Young Designer 2018.

The Laotian Times was at Crowne Plaza Vientiane as the young fashionista took out the top spot among the five design aspirants awarded by the Lao Young Designers Project, an initiative of Lao Fashion Week.

The young designer is set to spend six months learning the trade at Paris ESMOD.

Runners-up were not left out. Singapore’s Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts will welcome first runner-up Mr Daovanh Inthavong for six months.

Mr Visaphon Keovilay (aka Candy) is set to spend an year studying at the London College of Design and Fashion’s Hanoi campus.

A 2-month course at Manila’s Fashion Institute of Phlippines followed by 2 months interning with designers awaits Ms Chindasanga Vongsouly.

Thai designers Pitnapat and Eaggamon in Bangkok will play host to two months of training for Mr Kee Phearkhamngon.

More images at Laos Briefly.

Lao Government Buys Beeline

Government of Laos Buys Beeline

VimpelCom Lao Co., trading as Beeline, has officially entered an agreement to sell its 78% stake to the Government of Laos for gross proceeds of USD 22 million, making the Lao government the sole owner of the telecommunications company.

A source has confirmed that the sale of Beeline will be fully executed 120 days from signing. The change in ownership is said not to affect company operations, and the company will continue to operate under the Beeline brand.

The sale comes as Amsterdam-based Veon Ltd, owner of VimpelCom Lao, moves to sell off its non-core assets.

Transfer of ownership of VimpelCom Laos to the Government of the Lao PDR is pending the satisfaction of certain conditions, including receipt of necessary corporate and regulatory approvals.

As at 30 June 2017, VimpelCom Lao had 289,000 customers.