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Laos’ strategy on infrastructure to connect with Asean

The 7th Asean Connectivity Forum is taking place from July 9-10 at the International Seoul COEX, Republic of Korea, with Asean ministers and high level officials from infrastructure and smart city-related departments attending the event.
Lao Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, gave a keynote speech at the forum about transport development strategies and related projects in Laos.

Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong (seventh from right) at the 7th Asean Connectivity Forum in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

He presented the position of Laos in the wider region and its existing strategies and plans. Laos shares borders with five Asean countries. It is a bridge between the larger Asean economies and not least the largest markets in the region Vietnam, Thailand, Chinawith a stretch to Korea and Japan.
“Improved transport connectivity is a pre-requisite for transforming Laos to a land-linked country providing a land bridge for the Asean mainland and the Greater Mekong Sub-region,” Dr Bounchanh said.
He said the government has been committed to developing policies and plans that capture the potential economic benefits of infrastructure investment that transforms regional connectivity.
This also aims to complement the master plan on Asean connectivity 2025, and the GMS transport sector strategy 2030 with multi-lateral agreements and cooperation frameworks in place covering road, rail, air, waterways, logistics and cross-border facilities.
“Our 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan and our Public Works and Transport sector’s 10 year development strategy and 5 year plan all embrace the need to strengthen regional connectivity. This includes not only infrastructure investment but also cross-border transport and trade facilitation agreements to reduce delays at borders and provide efficient single-window customs clearance,” he said.
Laos has a key role to play in facilitating infrastructure connectivity across the region with major initiatives in the areas of railways and roads connecting neighbouring countries. The full benefit of this investment is about much more than providing transit routes.
In order to move forward, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport is developing an overarching transport policy framework taking a long term view beyond the current horizons, which draws together the above plans into an integrated set of policies and plans.
The newly developed policy framework for regional connectivity structure will consist of three main programme areas such as integrated land-use and transport planning, prioritising infrastructure investment, and developing international logistics as a service.
Also speaking at the forum, Secretary General of the Asean-Korea Centre, Mr Lee Hyuk, said “The Korean government’s New Southern Policy and the upcoming Asean-ROK Commemorative Summit in November to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Asean-Korea dialogue relations have created a favourable environment for the success of this year’s Asean Connectivity Forum. Indeed, expectations for stronger Asean-Korea partnerships have attracted many high level participants and tangible projects to the forum this year.”
He hoped that many Korean companies would take full advantage of the forum and the business meetings to see promising investment opportunities and new partnerships in Asean infrastructure and smart cities.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update July 10, 2019)

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