AusAID for transport and energy infrastructure Mekong
Australia boosts development aid to the Mekong
Canberra, Australia – Australia will significantly boost aid for transport and energy infrastructure development in the Mekong basin as part of efforts to combat rural poverty and economic disparities in the region.
Feeder roads, canals and major transport corridors in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam will be upgraded, improving access for poor communities to markets and to services.
We will also assist with rural electrification in Laos and Cambodia, including through the use of renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic panels and biomass generators.
The Australian Government’s new Greater Mekong Subregion development strategy underpins our $163 million package of assistance, aimed at promoting development, rural livelihoods, trade, markets and regional integration.
It will include training for effective and sustainable water management and encourage cooperation and economic integration between Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and neighbouring countries in the region.
Water is critical to economic growth and poverty reduction and is central to the achievement of environmental and health objectives.
We will continue to support the Mekong River Commission which helps member states promote joint development in the region, and provides assistance for monitoring changing water levels and developing a basin-wide approach to water resource management.
About 60 million people depend on the Mekong River for their livelihoods. The river irrigates the region’s rice crops and provides freshwater fish, frogs and shellfish that are the main protein source for many people, particularly the poor.
Remarkable change has occurred in the region in the past 20 years, when most countries in the region stationed troops along borders and cross border incursions were common.
Today the region is experiencing stability and strong cooperation. As a result of greater openness, intra-regional trade increased dramatically in 2004 to more than eleven times the 1992 level. Overall, merchandise exports increased by more than 300 per cent from 1992 to 2005.
The $163 million Mekong basin development package will be managed by AusAID, the Australian Government’s overseas aid agency, over four years.