Regional and Local Economic Development in the East West Corridor (RLED-EWEC)

Project completed

The “Regional Local economic Development – East West Corridor” Project (RLED-EWEC)” has been implemented since 2013 by the Mekong Institute, an intergovernmental organisation with the mandate to build human resources capacities in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). The proposed two year phasing out will consolidate and scale up results. 5’500 smallholder farmer households will increase income and the environment for cross-border trade will be improved.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Agricultural development
SME development
Public sector policy
01.08.2017 - 31.10.2019
CHF 1'700'000

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) brought together Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the two southern provinces of China with the objective to foster economic growth through regional integration. The main GMS development strategy is the creation of three economic corridors to facilitate the movement of goods and people. The East-West corridor has been the most disadvantaged of the three corridors and is home of a majority of ethnic groups with high poverty rates.  Since 2013, SDC has been supporting the Mekong Institute (MI), an inter-governmental organization owned by GMS governments with the mandate to build human resources and capacities with the aim to support economic development and poverty reduction in the GMS, in the implementation of a project called “Regional Local economic Development – East West Corridor” (RLED-EWEC).” The current phase will be a 2 year phasing out focusing on consolidation, scaling up and enhancing sustainability of project results.


To contribute to inclusive and equitable growth in income via improved and effective markets for both inputs and outputs along the East West Economic Corridor.

Target groups
  • 5’500 farmer households increase their income.

Laos 2000 (female headed 35%)

Myanmar 2000 (female headed 20%)

Vietnam 1500 (female headed 30%)

  • 25 enterprises improve their product quality, market access and income
  • 6 value chains financing mechanism models
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome1: Increased income for smallholder farmers and for enterprises involved in selected value chains

Outcome2: Improved enabling environment for cross border trade of agricultural products / inputs at selected borders


Expected results:  

  • Smallholder farmers receive improved value chain services
  • Enterprises provide and profit from improved value chain services
  • Relevant government departments and private sector agents improve their capacity and co-operation on cross border trade
  • Agricultural stakeholders in the twin provinces strengthen business cooperation by improving their cross-border business linkages

Results from previous phases:  

  • A total of 1,066 household farmers gained additional net income of 6.5% - 38% due to the increase of product volume in three commodities (rice, maize, coffee).
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the selected value chain have doubled their net profit.
  • In Laos, Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regulations have fed into the national strategy and action plan for the rice sector. For the first time, a rice miller in Laos has been awarded with the GMP-Certificate by Technical Inspection Association from Germany (TUV).
  • In Vietnam, the Quadripartite Cooperation Model, a mechanism to improve the access to commercial loans for appropriate fertilizer, has been successfully implemented among the farmer groups. The Dutch INGO SNV has taken up the model for replication.
  • In the fragile context of Myanmar, farmers have increased  access to quality inputs delivered by a private sector company and expanded their markets  through new traders.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign academic and research organisation
  • Research Organisation of South East

Other partners
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB)
  • Universities and other capacity development organizations along EWEC; provincial and district planning authorities
Coordination with other projects and actors
  • Thematic exchange with SDC projects from AFS Domain
  • Food Safty programme (New Zealand Aid Programme Projects 2017 - 2019)
  • Enhancing Competitiveness of Small and Medium- sized Enterprises along the Sothern Economic Corridor (SEC) of the ASEAN  Mekong Sub- region (ASEAN – Japan 2016 – 2018)
  • Sustainable Freight Transport and Logistic in the Mekong Region (EU – Switch – Asia 2016 – 2018)
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   1'700'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   1'592'226
Project phases

Phase 2 01.08.2017 - 31.10.2019   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.08.2012 - 30.06.2017   (Completed)