Development assistance in Laos
Australia’s development partnership with Laos
How we are helping
- 2020-21 bilateral allocation [budget estimate]
- $20.6 million
- 2020-21 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
- $40.1 million
- 2019-20 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
- $37.9 million
Pillar 1 – health security
Health security in Laos is improving, although many resource and coordination challenges persist. Australia’s support will improve the Laos Government’s capacity to respond to health sector needs that have been exacerbated by COVID-19. Australia will focus on strengthening capacity for key health security institutions. Training and other support will help Laos understand, identify and manage COVID-19 and other communicable disease outbreaks. We will balance institutional strengthening with support for Lao frontline health workers, mostly women, who are at the highest risk from further outbreaks of COVID-19 and other diseases. Australia will support equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in Laos through multilateral and regional initiatives to finance, assess, deliver, and monitor COVID-19 vaccines.
Pillar 2 - stability
COVID-19 is exacerbating social inequalities and increasing poverty. Australia will continue to focus on sectors that help reduce poverty and alleviate other social pressures. We will also support Laos to mitigate the pandemic’s negative impacts on disadvantaged groups. We will continue to strengthen basic education: an important foundation for Laos’ stability and prosperity. COVID-19 has increased disparities in basic education quality and access in Laos. Quality education is also critical to women and girls’ empowerment and improved social equality. Australia will continue its strong human rights engagement in Laos. A human rights-based approach is important to achieving an inclusive recovery from COVID-19. We will support stability and security in food and water supply. COVID-19 has heightened water, food and electricity insecurity and the potential for conflict over shared resources. We will address increased risks of transboundary criminal activity. Poverty and the diversion of government resources could make Laos more vulnerable to transboundary crime and social instability as a result of COVID-19. Australia will support the most vulnerable. Women, people with disabilities, and ethnic minorities are at increased risk of poverty due to the pandemic.
Pillar 3 – economic recovery
The Lao Government recognises the need for diverse and sustainable growth to drive economic recovery. Yet its ability to deliver is constrained by significant economic and financial challenges. Australia will support Laos to return to economic growth and strengthen financial and economic management. We will help strengthen the trade and business environment. Prospects for a strong economic recovery will improve if Laos removes barriers to trade, investment and enterprise development. We will build capacity in public financial management and economic governance. COVID-19 has increased the need for Laos to maximise revenue collection and improve the efficiency of public expenditure. We will strengthen human resource development in support of inclusive growth. Gaps in human resource capacity undermine public sector governance and private sector growth. Australia is recognised in Laos for placing a high priority on gender equality and social inclusion. We consistently advocate for women to play a role in their country’s growth, development, stability and security.
Australia’s development efforts are set out in Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response