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USAID and LNCCI launch App to update SMEs on business reform

The SME community in Laos will now have access to updates on business environment reform through the use of an application that was officially launched on Tuesday.

The Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Laos Business Environment Project officially launched Policy Watch, a mobile application that is designed to provide business environment policy reform-related updates to SMEs.

Key speakers at the launch event included the Vice President of the LNCCI, Ms Valy Vetsaphong, and Director for the Office of Economic Growth, Education and Energy, USAID Laos Mr Cullen Hughes, representatives from the Department of Planning and Cooperation at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, LNCCI boards of directors and members as well as business associations participated in the event.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ms Valy expressed her sincere thanks to the USAID Laos Business Environment Project for their support in developing this application “The application will be used as a tool to complement and enhance the work of the Lao Business Forum and the Local Public Private Dialogue in order to foster a strong business environment and improve business competitiveness and new government policies,” she said.

USAID Country Representative to Laos Mr Michael Ronning said “USAID, through the Laos Business Environment Project, is pleased to support the development of this application. It will amplify the critically important work that the LNCCI is doing in the areas of policy reform advocacy and public-private dialogue to improve Laos’ business environment.”

The application will provide SMEs with easy access to policy-related information and promote LNCCI’s advocacy and policy reform efforts. A key medium- to long-term goal is to make Policy Watch the preferred platform in the local business community for accessing policy-related information, news and events. Illustrative features and functions of the Policy Watch application include policy update, policy talk, news update, local public-private dialogue, link, and about the App.  The application is available in both Lao and English.

This initiative aligns with USAID’s support of Laos’ trade and economic growth objectives. Policy Watch, developed with funding support from USAID, is a tool to complement existing policy reform advocacy initiatives in Lao PDR such as the Lao Business Forum, the Enhanced Integrated Framework -supported local public-private dialogue initiative in four northern provinces and the USAID-supported Champasak Local Public Private Dialogue Mechanism. Policy Watch is also intended to be a tool for supporting deliberative and inclusive dialogue and analysis by tracking the results of the policy reform process in the Lao PDR.

Source: T4D, Vientiane Times