• Magdalena Parkhurst

IBI Helps Lao Prepare to Graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) Status

On February 2nd, 2021 the IBI-implemented USAID/Laos Business Environment Activity partnered with the Government of Lao (GoL) counterparts, including the Department of Foreign Trade Policy (DFTP) and the Lao Minister of Industry and Commerce (MOIC), to hold a one-day workshop entitled LDC Graduation Preparation in the Digital Economy to Commemorate 8th Anniversary of Lao PDR’s WTO Membership. This workshop is part of Lao’s ongoing commitment to graduate from ‘Least Developed Country Status’. It also included a celebration of Lao’s membership in 2013 to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The GoL is committed to promoting continuous, inclusive, and sustainable growth to graduate from LDC status.

Participants and presenters at the LDC Graduation Preparation in the Digital Economy to Commemorate 8th Anniversary of Lao PDR’s WTO Membership Workshop.

The USAID/Laos Business Environment Activity supports Lao’s work to graduate from LDC status SMEs account for 99.8% of Lao businesses and 82.3% of employment, but they contribute only 20% to GDP. The Activity encourages sustainable and inclusive growth through SME assistance and development, ultimately assisting GoL efforts towards LDC graduation.


The workshop attracted 200 attendees and was chaired by Ms. Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of the MOIC, and co-chaired by Dr. Peter M. Haymond, U.S. Ambassador to Laos. The workshop celebrated 10 years of US support Lao PDR. It also examined the impact of COVID-19 on Lao’s economic goals and explored strategies to encourage the digital economy, and to promote collaborative digital economy policymaking between public and private stakeholders.

Chaikeo Kedsadasak, USAID/Laos Business Environment Activity Finance and Operations Manager, at the LDC Graduation Preparation in the Digital Economy to Commemorate 8th Anniversary of Lao PDR’s WTO Membership Workshop.

As one of Activity’s major components is supporting inclusive Public Private Sector Collaboration, IBI expects this workshop will lead to fruitful collaboration. In addition, ICT is an Activity priority sector, so we are pleased by the GOL’s enthusiastic support of the digital economy. In our next Blog post, we will tell you more about the Laos Business Environment Activity’s work in the ICT sector, so check back soon.



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