Mekong Memo Laos Weekly: Business, politics, finance, trade & legal news.
Get the latest Southeast Asian business news delivered to your inbox every weekday with the Mekong Memo.
Choose to receive our free daily editions covering Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand individually or together: account settings.
The Memo is published each weekday for the country of your choice. Paid subscriptions receive full editions while free subscribers get top headlines and an abbreviated selection of stories.
Support us and unlock unlimited access by becoming a paid subscriber today to stay informed on emerging opportunities in Southeast Asia.
The Mekong Memo is proudly presented by:
Horton International offers reliable, effective solutions to recruiting and resourcing challenges for a diverse range of organizations, from small, privately held start-ups to leading Global corporations. With offices and experience throughout Southeast Asia, Horton International is your first choice for executive search in the region.
Click here to learn more.
Here is your Mekong Memo Laos for the week of February 7, 2024. Click on the link of our sponsor above, pay for a subscription, share with a friend or hit that reply button and tell us what you think.
ASEAN Ministers’ Retreat Sees Priorities Outlined
A recent foreign ministers' retreat in Luang Prabang saw a congenial atmosphere conducive to productive discussions, without the politicization of some of the more contentious issues that could have thrown a wrench into the works. Laos introduced nine strategic priorities to focus on during its chairmanship, leading with the Myanmar crisis and the ASEAN Community's Post-2025 Vision. The presence of a senior Myanmar bureaucrat was interesting, raising hopes for progress in the implementation of the Five-point Consensus on Myanmar. Laos's diplomatic approach so far seems to be emphasizing a “less is more,” mindset as it eases into the role.
Read more: Bangkok Post
Chinese Money Flows, But at What Cost?
A torrent of Chinese tourists and infrastructure projects is injecting much-needed cash into Laos. The new high-speed train connecting Vientiane to Luang Prabang serves as a shining example, and most of the mega dams powering electricity across the region have some level of Chinese backing as well. There’s no doubt the Laotian economy could use a boost, but many locals are increasingly troubled by having China as the dominant neighbor next door. There is increasing fear that the nation may forfeit control of their rivers and mineral wealth if the loans cannot be repaid, causing a loss of both financial sovereignty and autonomy. Though Laos scrambles to meet practical needs, preserving its long-term independence poses the true challenge.
Read more: Newsweek
Government Gets Creative to Fix Money Mess
With things getting pretty rocky, financially, the government has directed all departments and local authorities to dig deep for ideas on how to alleviate economic difficulties and improve citizens' welfare. In a recent meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, the talk was all about getting the economy back on track. National defense, security, foreign affairs, and economic recovery strategies were all discussed, but the real talk centered on figuring out how to keep Laotian quality of life from tanking.
Read more: The Star
The remainder of this post is for paid subscribers only, but remember, you can get a month of The Mekong Memo for FREE by sharing it with only three others: