BackgroundA survey conducted by UN Lao People's Democratic Republic among 350 small and medium-sized enterprises (mainly in the retail sector) in six provinces in June 2020 found that 95 per cent of interviewed firms were adversely affected by the crisis, of which 71 per cent of the surveyed firms had to stop their operations.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 outbreaks in neighboring countries have resulted in major influxes of workers returning home as they lost their jobs, some temporarily and others permanently. Research conducted in 2020 on Lao People's Democratic Republic in the time of COVID-19 by the World Bank indicated that over 200,000 Laotians working abroad had to return home in 2021, causing a projected decline of up to US$125 million in remittances in 2020, an amount equivalent to 0.7 per cent of GDP. This has had a significant negative impact on household incomes, social services, and the national economy.
Thus, the project will mainly focus and work on two areas of intervention, namely: (1) facilitating returned migrant workers to take up existing wage employment opportunities; and (2) supporting aspiring entrepreneurs, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and local economic development through strengthened local production and services. This directly links to the National Rural Employment Strategy of Lao People's Democratic Republic, and the UN COVID-19 Response Action Plan to be adopted by the Lao Government.
The Project supports COVID-19 response and recovery not as a standalone measure, but as part of building an enabling environment for continued future income generation opportunities.
Development objectivesTo support the Government of Lao People's Democratic Republic in the reintegration of returnee migrant workers, aspiring entrepreneurs and the revival of the MSME sector to generate better and more sustainable income and employment opportunities by strengthening local production and services in a number of key economic sectors as well as promoting COVID-19 preventive measures.
Project outcomesIncrease opportunities for returned migrant workers (women and men) with productive wage employment through linkages with skill development, including COVID-19 preventive measures, existing wage employment and self-employment opportunities.
For further information please contact:Ms Anousone Soseng Inh
National Project Coordinator