MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Three towns situated along the East-West Economic Corridor in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) will receive a competitive boost with a package of $40.8 million in loans and grants from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to make them cleaner, greener, and better able to benefit from their strategic locations.
“The East-West Economic Corridor passes through Kaysone Phomvihane, Phine, and Dansavanh, but we don’t want to see the benefits pass them by. With relatively modest investments to expand urban environmental infrastructure, each has the potential to be an economic hub,” said Florian Steinberg, Senior Urban Development Specialist in the Southeast Asia Department at ADB.
Kaysone Phomvihane is a border town linked with Thailand, with enormous potential for tourism and industrial and manufacturing cross-border trade. Phine, a market town centrally located in the country, is a crossroads for products and people coming from both Thailand and Viet Nam. Dansavanh, linked with Viet Nam, is a mining town with a newly-established special economic zone.
This is one of three projects in the pipeline to help transform GMS transport corridors built with ADB’s support into economic hubs that can help stimulate sustainable growth in the country, as well as in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and beyond. The others will be in Cambodia and Viet Nam.
The project supports regional development in the GMS by creating growth engines in corridor towns; increasing decentralization by strengthening provincial and district authorities; and stimulating private sector investments in economic infrastructure, such as dry ports.
The project will finance seven subprojects in the three towns to help smooth the transport of goods and people, as well as reduce disruptions from seasonal flooding, by upgrading roads and sealing them with climate-resistant materials. In Kaysone Phomvihane, wastewater and solid waste collection will be updated, helping to beautify the town and reduce the incidence of waterborne diseases. Recycling of some solid waste will be carried out through innovative materials recovery facilities for waste segregation.
The East-West Economic Corridor provides a land transport link running 1,320 kilometers through Thailand, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam, connecting the Andaman Sea and the South China Sea. In addition to transport, the economic corridor also focuses on developing telecommunications and energy infrastructure, tourism, and private sector involvement.