PEP researchers in Laos raise national concern regarding negative effects of the resource boom

PEP national policy conference in Vientiane, Laos - December 14, 2012

On December 14, 2012, a team of local researchers in Laos organized a national policy conference to communicate their PEP-supported research findings - and ensuing policy recommendations - regarding the potential effects of the resource boom and expansion of the mining sector for the Lao economy. These findings suggest the emergence of Dutch Disease effects in the country’s overall economic activities and outputs, and that the government shall take immediate action to mitigate the worst impacts of such effects. 

Find out more about the research team’s findings through the recently published PEP policy brief 104: “Resource boom, growth and poverty in Laos: what can we learn from other countries and policy simulations”.

The conference was held in the capital Vientiane, and organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the National Economic Research Institute. The audience gathered an impressive number of government officials from a variety of other Ministries and Departments – such as the Ministries of Finance, of Industry and Commerce, of Export and Import, of Energy and Mine, and well as the Departments of National Treasury, of Fiscal Policy, of International Cooperation, of Foreign Policy – as well as representatives from the World Bank, the National Bank of Laos and a number of academics from the University of Laos. The event also benefited from important media coverage through the National Television (news) channel and newspaper (Vientiane Time) - the message was thus communicated to the general public as well.

The event’s programme allowed time for attendants to share their views and questions, and several of them took the time to stress the importance of such findings for policy and donors. The high number of comments and interventions also demonstrated that the issues raised by the researchers have caught the attention of the attending policymakers.  One in particular, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dr. Bounthavy Sisouphanthong, stated that further analysis should be conducted in order to pursue the PEP researchers’ work and formulate a comprehensive policy strategy to address the identified issues (i.e. to cope with the negative impacts of the mining sector’s expansion).

The PEP project leader, Dr Phouphet Kyophilavong, was also invited to join an ongoing research initiative led by the Lao National Assembly – through the National Socioeconomic Research Committee – on “Sustainable Economic Development Strategy in Laos”. His involvement in this official initiative will ensure that the PEP project’s findings will exert direct influence over policymaking at the national level.

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