Indo-Pacific Business Forum focuses on Covid economic recovery
The United States, in partnership with the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) and Ministry of Industry and Commerce convened a Lao-specific forum in parallel with the Indo-Pacific Business Forum taking place in India.
The half-day virtual event was co-chaired by the US Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Dr Peter M. Haymond and LNCCI President Mr Oudet Souvannavong attended by the government officials, industry executives, businesses, and firms as well as representatives from the US Embassy and development partners.
The Lao Forum focused on digitalisation as a means for Covid-19 economic recovery. The Forum is a unique opportunity for business leaders from Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and the United States to exchange insights on digital trends and discuss how they can adapt and thrive to the new economic environment beyond Covid-19.
Ambassador Haymond highlighted the United States and Lao government’s joint efforts to support businesses during this challenging time “As part of the US-Lao Comprehensive Partnership which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, the United States is deeply committed to supporting the Lao PDR to not only address its current economic challenges but also build back and prosper beyond Covid-19 in the years ahead,” Ambassador Haymond said.
“Covid-19 has had an enormous impact on the Lao economy and Small and Medium Enterprises. It has accelerated efforts by businesses to digitise.” He added
Banks have launched digital services to enable flexible payment arrangements for their customers. Grocery stores, shops and retailers have amended their business models to focus on online ordering and delivery services. “Many schools and universities, especially in Vientiane, have shifted to online learning,” Mr Oudet said.
The annual Indo-Pacific Business Forum, now in its fourth year promotes trade, investment and economic cooperation between the United States and its partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region. This year’s regional event highlighted opportunities for US companies and their Indo-Pacific partners to play a leading role in shaping the region’s economic development including major US-led Indo-Pacific Strategy initiatives related to economic recovery and resilience, climate action, and digital innovation.
The agenda included local and regional panel discussions with tech companies such as LOCA, Food Panda and RDK Laos, LINE MAN Wongnai (Thai tech company), Boost (Cambodian microfinance digital technology startup), and Social Giver (Thai tech company).
The panel discussion topics included “Enhancing the digital capabilities of Lao SMEs to accelerate recovery from Covid-19 and lay the groundwork for long-term business growth” and “How technology leaders are innovating in the face of Covid-19”.
The event also included a virtual link to the regional Forum’s panel of Fortune 500 tech companies on cloud and cybersecurity, as well as a keynote speech from Google’s Business Lead for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, who discussed Google’s initiatives in relation to Covid-19 resiliency.