Smart eco-city envisioned for Laos district

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) – Amata Corporation Public Company Ltd, the world’s leading industrial city developer from Thailand, is cooperating with Oudomxay provincial authorities to develop Namor district into a smart and eco-city.

A cooperation agreement was signed recently in the province by Provincial Governor Khamphan Pheuyavong and the company’s CEO Vikrom Kromadit.

Amata Corporation Plc is interested in investing in the project called ‘Amata Smart and Eco City’ taking in Namor district, Oudomxay province and adjoining Luang Namtha district, Luang Namtha province.

The agreement puts into practice the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Lao government and the company on April 2, 2018, to conduct a feasibility study on the development of a smart city in Oudomxay province.

The project area covers 70 square kilometres which the company plans to expand by 200 km2 in future to transform Namor district into a smart and eco-city.

The move is part of Laos’ efforts to create stronger links with neighbouring countries.

Under the MoU, Amata will receive a land concession to develop Namor and Luang Namtha districts into a smart city and logistics hub in line with the government’s sustainable and environmentally friendly policies to modernise communities and strengthen local livelihoods.

Amata will be responsible for analysing the economic and technical feasibility of the project and seeking sources of funding. Domestic and overseas shareholders are expected to invest in the project this year.

Luang Namtha provincial authorities have authorised the company to collect relating to the development of Luang Namtha district.

Under the suggested development plan, in the first phase the developer would turn Nateuy village near the Laos-China railway and four other villages on 800 hectares of land into a logistics hub.

This would serve as a regional centre to link with regional and international ports like Laem Chabang in Thailand and Hai Phong in Vietnam.

In the second phase, the developer would transform Luang Namtha district into a modern city comprising 14 villages on an area of 3,700 hectares.

Advanced technology would be incorporated to attract overseas investors and ensure the project develops effectively.

The smart city initiative is one of several mega development projects the government plans to undertake in 2019, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Somdy Duangdy told the National Assembly last month.

The smart city concept is seen as a significant intervention to bolster economic competitiveness so that Laos can attract more foreign investment.

This is the first time the government has taken concrete action to translate the smart city concept into a working plan, even though the idea has been discussed for several years.