His Excellency Phouphet Khamphounvong, Minister of Finance and IFAD Governor of Lao PDR, has paid a courtesy visit to the President of IFAD, Mr Kanayo Nwanze, today. It has been an honour for IFAD to welcome for the first time a high-level delegation from Laos at IFAD Headquarters in Rome.
The Minister has expressed his appreciation for the IFAD investments in his country particularly for the Soum Son Seun Jai Programme approved by the IFAD Executive Board in December 2011. The aim of this programme is to support the capacity and economic potential of smallholder farmers to enter markets helping the rural population to overcome food insecurity. The Minister and the President have recognised the importance and potential of agriculture as a driving factor to support and accelerate the economic development and help Laos in leaving its status of Least Developed Country (LDC) by 2020.
His Excellency Phouphet Khamphounvong has also emphasised the effective and fruitful partnership between Lao PDR and IFAD to jointly support the rural population in his country. President Nwanze has expressed his commitment to consolidate this partnership and pointed out that IFAD has taken measures to open a country office in Vientiane. He has appreciated very much that Lao PDR has already started working on the Host Country Agreement which will allow IFAD to make the necessary arrangements to outpost the Country Programme Manager soon.
IFAD’s presence in Lao PDR will help bringing the Government, other donor agencies and local partners much closer to the beneficiaries supporting them to seize their economic opportunities and to overcome food insecurity.