- Magdalena Parkhurst
Local Public Private Dialogue as a Mechanism for Economic Growth in Lao
A core component of the USAID-Laos Business Environment Activity, being implemented by IBI, is the expansion of public-private dialogue (PPD). Through efforts in this area, the Activity encourages strong, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth in Lao. IBI recently facilitated a series of meetings with the provincial Champasak government and private sector stakeholders. These meetings are contributing to the creation of a tailored, provincial public-private dialogue platform in Champasak.
The Champasak meetings build off the Laos Business Activity’s national-level public-private dialogue work. Vientiane-based workshops such as, Strengthening Local Public-Private Dialogue Platforms, emphasized mechanisms to engage SMEs and women-owned businesses in the PPD process. The local public-private dialogue (LPPD) meeting in Champasak included members of the IBI team, representatives from the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) and the Lao PDR Department of Planning and Cooperation (DPC) and the National Implementation Unit (NIU), as well as key stakeholders in Champasak. These stakeholders include the Champasak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), the Department of Industry and Commerce (DOIC), and the Governor’s Office.
The CCCI noted numerous challenges for public-private dialogue, including limited capacity, lack of a permanent office, lack of a long-term strategy, and limited/low commitment from its members. The CCCI identified Agriculture and Tourism as priority sectors. Tourism is already a sector of focus for the Laos Business Environment Activity. Building off the PPD support facilitated by other in-country donors, the IBI team is supporting CCCI and the national PPD secretariat through developing position papers; conducting evidence-based research on issues raised; and monitoring and tracking actions. The Vice-Governor of Champasak expressed support for LLPD efforts. Local government buy-in is an important part of successful PPD.