Laos: Oudomxay province expedites smart city plan to spur regional development

VIENTIANE, Jan 23 (Vientiane Times/ANN): Oudomxay is speeding up efforts to create a smart city as part of a master plan to transform the province into a socio-economic development hub for the northern region, the province’s Party leader has said.

Addressing the recent 11th Congress of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, provincial Party Committee Secretary Khamphanh Pheuyavong said the planned smart city would be comprehensively systematic. It will comprise industrial, logistics, trade, residential, service and green areas.

A survey has been conducted on 12,000 hectares of land in Namor district where the smart city will be built, according to Khamphanh, who is the governor of Oudomxay province.

The smart city will be closed linked to a station on the Laos-China railway, which is slated for completion by the end of this year.

It will also connect to the province’s airport and the planned Vientiane-Boten expressway running from Vientiane to the Chinese border.

Khamphanh told the congress that work on the section of the expressway that passes through Oudomxay is expected to start this year following completion of the first section between Vientiane and Vanvieng district in Vientiane province.

The government recently approved the corridor of the second section of the expressway between Vangvieng and Luang Prabang province, which will eventually link to the section in Oudomxay.

Thanks to its strategically important location and untapped development potential, the government has decided to develop Oudomxay, which is home to 350,670 people, as a socio-economic development hub for the northern region.

Surrounded by five other provinces and bordering on China, Oudomxay is regarded as suitable for development as a hub for various reasons. One important consideration is that the 2E-2W roads connecting Vietnam to Thailand and Myanmar run through the province.

In light of this, Khamphanh said Oudomxay “can be built as an integration and connectivity hub for trade, investment and tourism services between the provinces and countries such as China, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.”

Oudomxay also has untapped development potential thanks to its mineral resources, forests and rivers, which can be used to promote ecotourism.

Khamphanh added that the province has the necessary political stability, social security and order conducive for extensive business operations.

In pursuit of its ambition to create the development hub, the government has initiated many projects to spur growth in surrounding provinces. An agricultural demonstration centre has been built in Oudomxay to provide professional training for local farmers and students in nine northern provinces.

An animal feed factory and a vocational school have also been established, according to the governor.

The governor underlined the need to speed up human resource development to meet accelerating development needs and to streamline public services in order to attract investment to drive socio-economic development in the province.

Meanwhile, Laos has detected two more Covid-19 cases, with its total number rising to 43.

Lao Deputy Minister of Health Phouthone Meaungpak told a press conference in Lao capital Vientiane on Friday (Jan 22) that the two new cases include a 33-year-old woman living in southern Laos' Champasak province, who returned to the country from Thailand.

Another one is a 29-year-old man who traveled from Thailand on January 18, and arrived in northern Laos' Bokeo province on the same day.

Laos announced its first two Covid-19 confirmed cases on March 24 last year. - Vientiane Times/Asian News Network

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