USAID Administrator Mark Green's Meeting With Lao Minister Of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith

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For Immediate Release

Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

 
The following is attributable to Acting Spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala:

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), The Honorable Saleumxay Kommasith, on January 28, 2020.

The two officials discussed their countries' expanding development partnership, and Administrator Green reinforced the United States' commitment to helping Lao PDR meet its target of graduating from the status Least Developed Country status by 2024. USAID assistance to Laos more than tripled between 2016 and 2019-from $7 million to nearly $24 million. The Administrator and the Minister affirmed several shared development priority areas in which USAID works, including health, education, disabilities, the rule of law, countering trafficking-in-persons, and the role that the private sector engagement can play in economic growth. Administrator Green commended the progress the Laotian Government has made since 2012 in reducing the incidence of stunting of children under the age of five from 44 percent down to 33 percent. He and Minister Saleumxay explored additional areas of potential USAID support to help Lao PDR further reduce chronic malnutrition further. According to the World Bank, the Laotian economy loses an estimated 2.4 percent, or nearly $200 million in national income each year because of chronic maternal and child malnutrition.

Administrator Green expressed concern about human trafficking, or modern slavery - one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the Asia region. He reiterated USAID's deep commitment to supporting the efforts of the Laotian Government and civil society to continue improving the country's record on this issue. He expressed appreciation for the Laotian Government's approval of a Memorandum of Understanding for the USAID-funded project to counter trafficking in persons, launched in Vientiane earlier this month.

Finally, Administrator Green expressed appreciation for the Laotian Government's support as Country Coordinator for the United States on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Administrator identified as a priority the finalization of a Regional Development Cooperation Agreement between the United States and ASEAN, and expressed appreciation for The Minister's's assistance in expediting ASEAN's concurrence in the agreement.

Last updated: September 17, 2020

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