Laos Seeks Scientific Solutions For Poverty Reduction
Dec 25, 2019

The Lao government is seeking input from academic and other research to help formulate strategies for poverty alleviation after acknowledging that it is only making slow progress. The Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF) under the country’s ministry of Agriculture and forestry has initiated the research concept on community-based poverty reduction, inviting Lao experts to compete in the field.

Seven teams of researchers from universities and the PRF were shortlisted to compete in the presentation of research papers, which was scheduled for for December 26 at the Confucius Center of the National University of Laos. Three or four teams will be selected to carry out the research.

The move is seen as a significant step as state authorities are increasingly aware of the need to make use of think tanks and get them involved in policy making and planning.

Financially supported by China, the research would include lessons learnt in poverty reduction, notably lessons learnt over the 16-year operation of the PRF – the government’s core poverty fighting body.

“We also want to find out why we are slower than neighbouring countries,” said Chit Thavisay, Executive Director of the PRF, referring to the slow pace of poverty reduction.

The findings of the research are taken into account when drafting the poverty reduction plan and the 9th five-year National Socio-economic Development Plan for 2020-2025, of which poverty alleviation is an integral part.

According to Thavisay, since the PRF’s introduction, some 800,000 people living in more than 2,000 villages in 55 districts of ten provinces have benefitted.

Some $187 million have been spent to finance the fund’s activities over the 16 years of its operation. The money has come from the state budget, grants and low-interest loans from foreign countries and international financial institutions.