International consultant to provide thought leadership and develop a background paper on the potential economic diversification pathways for Lao PDR

Location : Home-Based, or Vientiane, LAO PDR
Application Deadline :11-Dec-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Management
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :25 working days
Expected Duration of Assignment :December 2022 - March 2023

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


Lao PDR has witnessed impressive economic growth. The economy registered 7 percent GDP growth rates for the period 2009-2019. Poverty rates have declined from 33.5 percent in 2002-2003 to 18.6 percent in 2018-2019. The country is expected to graduate from Least Developed Country status by 2026.

In the past decade, the country’s growth vision centred on becoming the “the battery of ASEAN” and becoming “Land-linked”. The impressive growth rates have been achieved with rapid expansion of hydropower and mining sectors although this growth path posed some long-term risks. Investments were heavily focused on developing hydropower and connectivity related infrastructure, the financing of which included external loans. These projects produced mismatches between the short-term maturity of debt obligations and the longer-term mobilisation of state revenue. The economy has not undergone structural transformation. The share of agriculture in GDP declined from 17 in 2016 to 15 percent in 2020; industry increased from 29 to 32 percent and services remained at around 42 percent over the same period.  Agriculture remains the largest employer with 61 percent of the total workforce (down from 74 percent in 2008), services account for 26 percent of employment, up from 19 percent in 2008, with industry accounting for the remaining 13 percent. Hydropower and mining which accounts for 20 percent of GDP, contribute to only 1 percent of employment. To attract foreign direct investment to prioritized non-resource sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, handicrafts and services, the Government has introduced a range of policies, including special economic zones providing infrastructure, commercial facilities and generous tax incentives to specific industries (World Bank, 2022). Efforts to mobilise foreign direct investment (FDI) to expand manufacturing and processing industries are constrained by challenges related to labour productivity, access to raw materials and unfavourable business environment. The Government is further promoting green growth and digital economy. The National Green Growth Strategy 2030 aims to promote sustainable economic growth, towards improving the living standards of people in urban and rural areas, and creating jobs and income-generating activities. The Digital Economy Strategy promotes the digitalization of the manufacturing sector through the development of smart factories, digital parks, and digital economic zones that can attract foreign investments to build manufacturing facilities for parts related to digital equipment and systems. The opening of the Lao-China railway in 2021 has potential for strengthening Lao PDR’s access to export markets in the region. The government of Lao PDR already has ambitions to develop various sectors through trade and improved logistics and transportation. However, it will have to overcome systemic challenges in a range of sectors from agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and the barriers blocking the growth of new industries that harness the green and digital/technology-based value chains.

Against this background, the Development Research Institute of the Ministry of Planning of Investment aims to produce knowledge that would stimulate dialogue on economic diversification in Lao PDR. This is in line with the first outcome of the 9th NSEDP, ‘continuous quality, stable and sustainable economic growth’, and ambitions further reiterated in the national agenda to address financial and economic difficulties, which will expire in 2023. Advocating for sustainable and inclusive growth, UNDP stands ready to support the Development Research Institute, Ministry of Planning and Investment through its project ‘Initiation Plan for Effective Planning and Financing for Sustainable and Inclusive Development’ implemented in close collaboration with Ministry of Planning and Investment with support from USAID


The consultant is expected to work closely with the Development Research Institute of the Ministry of Planning of Investment, the head of Poverty Reduction Unit, UNDP Lao PDR with close guidance from the country economist and team to produce a high-quality background paper, with a focus on development of potential sectors that could gain from the improved connectivity infrastructure. The recommendations in the paper should be practical and should build on the existing development policies the government is currently implementing, especially the 9th NSEDP, the national agenda to address financial and economic difficulties, the Green Growth Strategy and the Digital Economy Strategy.

Duties and Responsibilities


The consultant is expected to enhance DRI’s thought leadership on economic diversification and structural transformation pathways for Lao PDR through compilation of high-quality research building on a desk review that is currently in draft and the consolidation of the background paper that will be used as a key tool for multi-stakeholder dialogue on the topic within Government and the development community in Lao PDR. Working closely with DRI and guidance from the head of Poverty Reduction Unit and Country Economist at UNDP Lao PDR, the consultant will be responsible for the following activities:

  1. Provide the research /analytical framework for the background paper and present the framework to DRI and UNDP. Identify potential ways to integrate findings from the future of work paper that UNDP is planning to initiate.
  2. Provide written inputs, research, data analysis and comprehensive evidence to strengthen the existing desk review with deep dive analysis on selected sectors based on the research/analytical framework approved by DRI and UNDP.
  3. Document country experiences and draft relevant sections of the background paper highlighting the country experiences. The country experiences should come from a stage of development similar to what Lao PDR is observing and from countries that have similar development conditions as much as possible.
  4. Conduct expert interviews and small group discussions with stakeholders conducting similar research and are exploring economic diversification models and pathways for Lao PDR.
  5. Identify possible pathways and policy suggestions in line with existing national policies, relevant laws, and regulations and by building on findings from the future of work paper and other emerging evidence.
  6. Identify options for DRI to take this dialogue forward through additional research, advocacy and through institutional partnerships with other research networks in Lao PDR and abroad.


  • Working knowledge of MS office.
  • Familiar with cloud document editing.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Master’s degree or higher (PhD an advantage) in economics or related field
  • Minimum 10 years of relevant experience on research and analysis on economic growth policies including diversification, structural transformation in developing country contexts and their implications on inclusive growth agendas.
  • Strong quantitative and qualitative analytical research skills with a minimum of 5 distinguished track records of scholarly publications on economic diversification, international trade, investments, SME development, industrial policy, value chain development or related areas.
  • Familiarity with South-East Asia regional context.


  • Excellent working knowledge of written and spoken English 

Requirements for submission of proposals 

All interested and qualified International or National Individual Consultants should apply online using the following links: 


UNDP Lao PDR Country Office website at


In order to make your submission, please read the relevant documents available at the links below 

  1. TOR (Annex I)
  2. IC General Terms and Conditions _ Annex II 

Interested Individual Consultants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications: 

1. Technical Proposal 


            (i)  Explaining why you are the most suitable for the work; 

            (ii)  Providing a brief methodology on how you will approach and conduct the work including the work 

                  schedule for the delivery of outputs/deliverable; 

2. P11 Form Education and work experience, including past experience in similar projects and contact references of at least 3 references for whom you have rendered preferably the similar services; 

3. Financial proposal:  Detailed financial proposal: Lump sum offer with clear cost breakdown against each deliverable. Please use this template  Offerors Letter to UNDP

Instructions for online submissions: 

  • Step 1:  Please prepare all required documents electronically. 
  • Step 3: After that you will receive an auto reply from the UNDP jobs if your offer is received successfully. 


Incomplete proposals or proposals received after the deadline will be rejected

Note:  Any request for clarification must be sent in writing before the submission deadline to the following emails:

If you are experiencing difficulties with online job applications, please contact the eRecruit Helpdesk.

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