Laos has huge potential to benefit from regional connectivity and economic integration as the land-locked country neighbours several major global trading partners.
According to a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report, the limited trading basket of Laos indicates that there may be unexploited potential for expanding into more diverse products that are traded with regional and global partners.
“A potential pathway for diversification is developing shared production and export capabilities through greater regional cooperation,” the report stated.
“Therefore, an important issue for national and regional policy is how to encourage the spread of capabilities, technology, knowledge, and network linkages between GMS (Greater Mekong Subregion) neighbouring countries to support per capita growth spillovers.”
The Lao government has prioritised programmes to build road networks, railways and expressways to connect with its neighbours so as to transform the country from a land-locked nation to a land-linked hub.
It’s essential for Laos to leverage its strengths in connectivity and its regional location to grow its economy and increase resilience to external shocks.
The ADB report suggested that GMS member countries, including Laos, will need to grow significantly faster than the more advanced members, so that convergence becomes a reality. Economic policies and interventions for boosting growth and driving the process of structural transformation are therefore critical.
Source : The Star