Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Lao PDR’s economy needs to become much more competitive and the overall business environment friendlier to the private sector. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2017, Lao PDR ranks 141 out of 190 countries for overall ease of doing business. Lao PDR ranks particularly low in terms of the time and cost of resolving insolvency (position 168), protecting minority investors (172), starting a business (164) and getting electricity (149). Structural reforms are needed for Lao entrepreneurs to conduct their business activities more efficiently and compete with other countries.
In the future, technological capabilities have to be upgraded by encouraging local innovations. In sectors and subsectors relevant to Lao PDR, applied research and innovation can shape the development of agro-industries and food industries, as well as boost rural productivity and resilience. The innovations and technologies will need to inform the development of agricultural extension packages and other forms of livelihood support.
Green Growth and Green Industry need further promotion. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce, in particular the Department of Industry and Handicraft, aims to promote participation by both public and private sectors in Green Growth and Green Industry. The “Greening” of industry will include policymaking, improved industrial production processes and resource-efficient productivity. The country’s Green Industry status is still at an early stage. Specific policies and instruments still need to be developed for Green Growth. Each Ministry has its own interpretation, and there is a need for a common strategy that could bring all the relevant Ministries together
Investment in infrastructure and innovation are crucial drivers of economic growth and development. With over half the world population now living in cities, mass transport and renewable energy are becoming ever more important, as are the growth of new industries and information and communication technologies.
Technological progress is also key to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges, such as providing new jobs and promoting energy efficiency. Promoting sustainable industries, and investing in scientific research and innovation, are all important ways to facilitate sustainable development.
More than 4 billion people still do not have access to the Internet, and 90 percent are from the developing world. Bridging this digital divide is crucial to ensure equal access to information and knowledge, as well as foster innovation and entrepreneurship.