Laos Australia Institute Phase III (LAI III)
Investment Concept Note for the Laos Australia Institute Phase III (LAI III)
The investment concept note for the Laos Australia Institute Phase III program is provided to the market for information.
The program as a whole is anticipated to be up to AUD16m in value over four years, with an option to extend for a further four years bringing the total value to approximately up to AUD32m over eight years.
DFAT anticipates undertaking an open tender for an implementing partner for a design-implement process, being advertised on AusTender website in January 2020.
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) sits at the heart of Southeast Asia as the region’s smallest, most sparsely populated and only landlocked country. Lao PDR’s asset endowments, geography, and economic and social legacies have shaped a development experience of strong growth, limited inclusion, and considerable risks to sustainability. Until recently, it has ridden a wave of economic growth fueled predominantly by investments in capital-intensive natural resources and industry sectors (dominated by mining, hydropower and construction activities).
On its previous trajectory, the Government of Lao PDR may well have achieved its revised timeframe of graduating from least-developed country status by 2024. COVID-19 has shattered those ambitions. Annual GDP growth has fallen from 8 per cent to around 3 per cent. Unemployment has swelled to 443,000 people or roughly 20 per cent of the workforce. More than 200,000 of these unemployed are returned migrants, many of whom worked informally in the tourist and hospitality sectors in neighbouring countries. Laos has one of the youngest populations in Southeast Asia, with 43 per cent of the population under the age of 20.
The 9th National Socio Economic Development Plan (2021-25) signals the government’s intent to focus on quality human resource development in order to drive sustainable development. It recognises that the current public sector wage bill is unsustainable and is prioritising a ‘right sizing’ of the public sector. It also recognises that the higher education sector does not produce workplace-ready graduates and is ill-equipped to respond to labour market needs.
Building on the achievements of the Laos Australia Institute phase II and the Laos Australia Development Learning Facility (LADLF), the third phase of the Laos Australia Institute (LAI III) will:
- Respond to lessons learned on human resource development needs and COVID-19 impacts to promote inclusive and sustainable development of Lao PDR;
- Integrate scholarship, alumni engagement and human resource development activities to upskill targeted stakeholders and deliver meaningful soft power advantages for Australia in Lao PDR; and
- Offer complementary modalities and provide the flexibility required to create opportunities that foster a strong, more positive and sustainable relationships between Lao PDR and Australia.
This information is provided for planning purposes only and it does not represent solicitation or constitute a request for proposal, nor is it a commitment to purchase or tender for any described services. The scale, scope and focus of any proposed program may change at any time and is subject to formal approval by the Australian and partner governments before any procurement process will commence. Should a procurement be approved, implementation is expected to commence in June 2021. This information is subject to delays, revision or cancellations.