Grant Opens New Market Opportunities for Greater Mekong Tourist Towns

An ADB project to build three new markets in Battambang, Cambodia; Kaysone Phomvihane, Lao PDR; and Dong Ha, Viet Nam will bring greater access to microfinance and more space to set up shop.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Vendors in three economic corridor towns in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), and Viet Nam will see greater access to microfinance and more space available to set up shop with a $2.5 million Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction grant that will build new markets and enhance financing.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will administer the grant, which compliments three corridor town improvement projects worth $220.0 million, which were approved in 2012.

“This project places a particular emphasis on assisting women vendors,” said Florian Steinberg, Senior Urban Development Specialist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department. “It will set aside space in the new market buildings specifically for women vendors, help them access existing local government daycares for their children, and build separate latrines to ensure they can safely spend the day in their workplace.”

Three small markets will be built in Battambang, Cambodia; Kaysone Phomvihane, Lao PDR; and Dong Ha, Viet Nam. The towns were chosen for their size, proximity to agricultural production, tourism, and cross-border trade.

Studies will be undertaken to determine the most marketable products with respect to available supply, production, and distribution chains. Using existing local microfinance organizations to identify and administer loans, up to 600 eligible poor market vendors will be offered microfinance by 2017, and given training and product counseling. At least 70% of the loans will be offered to women vendors.

It is expected that operating a stall in the new market will see real income for beneficiaries in each of the towns rise by 2017, compared to 2013 figures.

The project aims to further leverage opportunities opened up by the East-West Economic Corridor, which has brought greater industrial and commercial activities, including tourism. Traffic associated with cross-border trading between industrial zones, logistics facilities, and other sites along the product value chain should provide additional business to the market traders.