Luxembourg has approved additional development aid for Laos, reinforcing its commitment to healthcare and education initiatives in the country.
On the final day of his working visit to Laos, Minister for Foreign Affairs Xavier Bettel met with Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone to discuss the enhancement of existing projects. As a result, a modest increase in funding was agreed upon, with a focus on education and healthcare sectors.
In the education sector, a grant of €2.46 million was allocated, bringing the total available funding to €11.46 million. This investment will specifically bolster efforts to strengthen the rule of law, with plans to intensify collaboration between the University of Luxembourg and the University of Laos.
Additionally, funding for healthcare projects was increased from €32.4 million to €35.8 million. This increase will support the acquisition of medical refrigerators, addressing the critical shortage of blood reserves in Laos. These refrigerators, which have also proven effective in storing Covid-19 vaccines, will now be used for the transportation and storage of blood reserves.
The Minister for Development Cooperation expressed satisfaction with the progress witnessed during the visit, a sentiment echoed by MPs Sven Clement of the Pirate Party and Gusty Graas of the Democratic Party (DP). Having previously visited Laos in 2019, both MPs emphasised the tangible impact of Luxembourg's aid.
Clement stressed the importance of exploring new cooperation opportunities or enhancing existing partnerships to maximise impact. However, he acknowledged the limitations of influencing Laos's current economic challenges, notably excessive inflation, suggesting alternative measures be considered.
Graas affirmed Luxembourg's continued commitment to supporting Laos's development efforts, emphasising the need for sustained collaboration. It is not yet known whether both MPs will participate in the next visit to Laos in five years' time.