On 7th of February 2019, KfW together with BoL and AFC has organized and conducted a workshop at the Lao central bank – Bank of the Lao PDR (BoL) premises in Vientiane, Laos.
The Lao Access to Finance Fund (LAFF), a revolving fund set up at the BoL, is aiming at increasing the access to finance for MSMEs by means of longer term loans in local currency to MSMEs in rural areas with strong growth potentials.
The aim of the workshop with the LAFF management committee was to jointly discuss the current standing and next steps of the project. Through the exchange in the workshop, BoL has updated and confirmed its priorities. The overall main focus remains the set-up of a well working and sustainable fund management, and thus the support of the established LAFF management structure. Within the near future, BoL aims at finalizing the Partner Financial Institutions (PFIs) selection. Currently, our counterparts from BoL are in the process of including new PFIs, with AFC support, in order to provide them with LAFF funding within the near future.
The importance of regular physical meetings such as this stakeholder workshop is agreed upon by all three parties (please also refer to the BoL study tour to Germany and the Ukraine).
After the first year of project implementation by AFC, in consortium with ADG, the Academy of German Cooperatives, the LAFF is already having a very high level of awareness within the Lao financial sector – one of the reasons being the high BoL focus on MSME promotion in the country – and much appreciated by both BoL and KfW.
The picture was not taken during workshop itself, but at the preparation meeting between the AFC consultant team and the responsible KfW project manager at the AFC office in Vientiane.