Since 1998, IFC has provided more than $96.10 million in equity, quasi-equity, and loans, together with over $10 million worth of advisory services programs to support the private sector in Lao PDR, both from its own account and mobilized from international resources.
As of December 2017, IFC’s committed portfolio in Lao PDR is:
In Lao PDR, IFC focuses on financial and advisory support in areas critical to sustainable and inclusive growth, and private-sector development. These include financial/banking, renewable energy, and job-generating sectors as well as the country’s overall investment climate.
SMEs are drivers of growth and the country’s primary engine of job creation, accounting for 63 percent of the workforce in Lao PDR. However, limited access to finance for domestic SMEs and a gender gap, pose challenge to the nation’s productivity-led growth model. IFC helps boost local banks’ lending capacity by offering innovative financing products to the domestic financial markets: two IFC-guaranteed local currency loans were arranged for ACLEDA Bank Lao in 2016 and 2017 - first of its kind in the local market. IFC’s $10 million risk guarantee with Banque Franco-Lao (BFL) in 2015 to support women SMEs was the first financing facility specifically targeting women entrepreneurs in Lao PDR.
With IFC’s support, the secured transactions registry system that allows smaller businesses to use moveable assets as collateral for obtaining loans was launched in late 2013. IFC is assisting further improvements in the country’s financial infrastructure in the areas of credit reporting and payment system.
IFC has been working on improving and simplifying business regulations in Lao PDR over the past few years. The IFC-initiated Lao Business Forum has facilitated ongoing discussion between the government and the private sector since 2005 on practical solutions to business constraints.
IFC supports the government to improve environmental and social standards of the hydropower sector, ensuring that hydropower projects are developed and operated in a sustainable way to protect the environment and local people’s livelihoods.
IFC is also implementing an advisory program in Lao PDR’s forestry industry with an aim to support selected private forestry companies to establish viable business models involving communities, out-growers and supply chains.