Savings and Credit in Rural Lao PDR: With a Focus on the Village-level Savings Groups

Webinar Series 2020-2021: Financial Transformation, Credit Markets and Household Debt in Southeast Asia

About the Webinar

Since the late 1990s village-level savings groups (SGs) were organized in Laos by a joint venture of NGOs (from Thailand) and Lao Women’s Union, starting from villages in Vientiane Municipality and expanded to more remote rural areas. The Agricultural Promotion Bank (APB), established in 1993, has a nation-wide branch network but a limited capacity to deliver credit to farmers. Given the still largely subsistence-oriented but rapidly transforming to market-based economy in rural Laos, the presentation reports the current status and structure of rural financial market, which is comprised of informal, formal (mainly APB), and the newly emerged SGs, based on intensive fieldwork conducted in several villages in Vientiane Municipality and Luang Prabang Province.

More info about the webinar series here.

About the Speaker

Koichi Fujita is serving as a Professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University since 2006. He specializes in agricultural economics and rural socio-economic research in contemporary South and Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on the issues such as land tenure, irrigation and water management, labor and employment, rural administration and organizations, and rural finance. Since 2015, he acts as the Convener of the National Institutes for Humanities project on “South Asian Area Studies” which is a collaborative research project based on a network of six centers in Japan. His publications include Economic Transition in Myanmar after 1988: Market versus Control (co-edited with Fumiharu Mieno and Ikuko Okamoto), Kyoto University Press and National University of Singapore Press, 2009, and Re-thinking Economic Development: The Green Revolutions, Agrarian Structure and Transformation in Bangladesh, Kyoto University Press and Trans Pacific Press, 2010. He also edited a special issue with Professor Akihiko Ohno, “Savings Groups in Laos from a Comparative Perspective” in Southeast Asian Studies, Vol.3, Supplemental issue, March 2015.

About the Discussant

Hans Dieter Seibel is a professor emeritus at Cologne University. He also taught at the universities of Liberia, Princeton NJ, Dortmund and Lagos. He is specialized on rural and microfinance, Islamic microfinance, linkages between formal and informal finance including digital linkages of self-help groups with banks/MNOs, agricultural development bank reform, and MSME development. He did his first survey research on self-help groups as informal financial intermediaries in the 1960s in West Africa. In 1990 he coined the term microfinance. In 1988-1991 he was team leader of Linking Banks and Self-Help Groups in Indonesia, a joint project of GIZ and Bank Indonesia. In 1999-2001 he was Rural Finance Advisor at IFAD in Rome and author of its Rural Finance Policy (2000). He is the author of “Financial Systems Development and Microfinance” 1994 ( and co-author of “From Microfinance to Inclusive Banking: Why Local Banking Works”, 2016.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

Please register here to receive your unique link for joining the webinar.

Limited spaces only, register early to avoid disappointment.

To join the webinar,
1. Install the Zoom client onto your computer or download the app on your mobile device.
2. Set up a Zoom account, using the following link:
3. Click on the unique link in your email.

For the best experience, please mute your microphone. If you have questions for the speaker, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speaker during the Q&A session.


Jan 14 2021


4:00 pm - 5:15 pm