According to Carli, Laos' ambition is to be the “battery of Asia” through its focus on hydroelectricity along the Mekong. Some of the region’s advantages include having the highest levels of arable land per capita in Asia. Laos also has a young population, with an average age of 24.
China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is also helping grow the economy in terms of investment into road and rail.
“Laos doesn't have a sea border so [this infrastructure] moves [the region] from being landlocked to landlinked so it can avail (itself) of some of our neighbouring countries' growth,” Renzi says.
Carli explains a key focus for ANZ’s Laos business is to enhance customer relationships across the rest of the network.
“There are many multinationals who bank with ANZ in other countries because of the support they get in challenging markets like Laos,” she says.
By capitalising on inclusive hiring and retention policies that might be overlooked by more traditional local banks and businesses in Laos, Carli believes ANZ has been able capture the top talent in the market.
“That gets recognised by our customers and stakeholders as well in independent surveys and awards. It's a 33-person team [here] and over half of them have worked for ANZ for more than 10 years. It's a really proud group of people.”
Shayne Elliott is CEO of ANZ
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