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Vientiane City Authorities Plan To Introduce Smart Zones

Source: Vientiane Times

Several areas of Vientiane have been designated for development as “smart zones” through the use of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) in the development of the capital.

The areas in question are the Mekong riverside, That Luang Marsh Specific Economic Zone, Saysettha Development Zone and Long Thanh-Vientiane specific economic zone, as well as the areas of Nongchan, Nongtha and Nong-Or.

The introduction of ICT applications in these areas should accelerate the modernisation of Vientiane and make the city more livable, which is increasingly important in this era of regional economic integration and connectivity.

Vientiane Mayor Dr Sinlavong Khoutphaythoune told the 10th session of the Vientiane People’s Council recently that authorities will expedite the development of Vientiane to ensure the capital falls in line with other cities in the region in the next three to four decades.

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Modern technology will be used in state administration, trade, transport, education, human resource development, land management, and city management.

A new urban development master plan, which was recently approved by the government, will help authorities respond to the rapid growth of Vientiane in the coming decades.

Vientiane has a population of almost one million people and has high economic and demographic growth potential.

Without adequate infrastructure, an urban sprawl will result, with poor living conditions and inadequate social services, and the city’s dwindling pastoral charms might be entirely lost.

The master plan highlights the importance of environmental protection, increasing greenery, and creating more public recreation areas. The plan also includes construction of a drainage system that will cope with flooding.

Last year, Laos was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and natural disasters, resulting in an economic slowdown and shrinking revenue.

Budgetary tensions will make it difficult for Vientiane to speed up the development of infrastructure and facilities needed by investors.

The city’s administration has pledged to encourage the private sector to take part in development projects through public-private partnerships, which should reduce the financial burden on the government and enable authorities to develop Vientiane more quickly.

This year, 12.5 trillion kip is needed to ensure Vientiane’s economy grows at a rate of 6.5 percent. Of this amount, 80 percent is targeted to come from private investment sources.

Several projects have been carried through public-private partnerships, but one of the main challenges has been the long time it takes to deal with the paperwork and approve private investment.

It is essential that the government further improves the business climate and speeds up the procedures involved in approving investment projects, as well as ensuring the proper enforcement of laws for the benefit of the country and investors.