Lao People's Democratic Republic  

Quick Facts

Population 7 million (2016)
GDP at PPP (current international dollars) 42 billion (2016)
GDP per capita at PPP (current international dollars) 6,196 (2016)

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Agriculture remains an important part of the Lao PDR economy, and government leaders have recognized the sector as a key driver for reducing poverty. As part of the GMS program, Lao PDR is working to improve food security and cross-border agricultural trade, as well as reduce trans-boundary animal disease and foster climate change resilience. The ultimate goal is to improve the lives of people in rural areas, and foster economic development.

In the area of energy, Lao PDR is a leader in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Today, Lao PDR supplies 100 percent of its domestic power needs through hydropower, and derives substantial economic benefit from selling excess power to its GMS neighbors. The Lao PDR Government has recognized that providing widely available and affordable energy to people in both urban and rural areas is important for economic development and poverty reduction.

Though diversification is underway, Lao PDR’s economy is primarily resource-based, so environmental sustainability is vital. As Lao PDR’s economic activity has increased, protection of the country’s environment has become increasingly important. Lao PDR is working with its GMS partners to establish biodiversity corridors, and protect critical ecosystems.

The Lao PDR Government is working closely with its GMS partners to improve education and health, and better develop human resources in the country. This has included vocational training programs, as well as work to improve the skills of the country’s health care workers. GMS-supported programs to control communicable diseases and to improve government officials’ management abilities are also underway.

Lao PDR is using mobile and fixed telephone communications, as well as the Internet, to promote human resource development, research, business, and infrastructure development, and to enhance the country’s education system. Telecommunications access is being expanded into remote rural locations, including areas where vulnerable minority groups can benefit.

Lao PDR has seen a rapid increase in tourism in recent years. Its rich cultural and natural sites are attracting a growing number of visitors. Top destinations include Luang Prabang, Champasak, Vientiane, Vang Vieng, and Savannakhet. Direct flights between Cambodia’ Angkor Wat and Luang Prabang are an example of the efforts underway to link GMS tourist sites, and package them as a single destination. Lao PDR’s strategy is to develop tourism in order to generate jobs, protect natural cultural heritage, and reduce poverty.

The Government of Lao PDR is actively encouraging trade and investment with its GMS partners. It has worked to enhance cross-border trade, and has been active partner in the development of economic corridors using transport infrastructure to drive trade and investment.

In the area of transport, Lao PDR has developed better highway connections with Cambodia, PRC, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The country is a vital link in several of the subregion’s major economic corridors, including the North-South Economic Corridor, which spans from Kunming to Bangkok via Lao PDR, another North-South Corridor which traverses Kunming, Mohan, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Thakhek, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, and the East-West Corridor, which stretches 1,500 km from Mawlamyine in Myanmar, to Da Nang in Viet Nam, passing through Savannakhet-Dansavanh in Lao PDR. Through these transport corridors, Lao PDR is transforming itself from a landlocked into a land-linked country, using its location at the center of GMS to facilitate trade and investment from other countries in the subregion.

ADB and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic: Fact Sheet

Khamking Koemany is a homestay provider on Don Khon Island, one of the popular sites for tourists visiting the Four Thousand Islands group on the Mekong River in Champasack Province. His business has flourished since he received training in tourism services under the GMS Sustainable Tourism Development Project. Photo: ADB.

Lao PDR and the Greater Mekong Subregion: Expanding Opportunities for Growth

Blessed with rich natural resources and a strategic location at the heart of the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has emerged from decades of turmoil and isolation to become one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia since 2011.

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Lao PDR Set for Moderate Growth in 2018 and 2019 — ADB

VIENTIANE, LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC (26 September 2018) — Economic growth for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is expected to moderate in 2018, as agriculture and mining outputs are forecast to underperform, although an expansion in electricity generation, construction, and services will partially offset these adverse effects, according to a new Asian Development Bank report.

News Releases

ADB to Improve Environmental Services in Two GMS Corridor Towns in Lao PDR

VIENTIANE, LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRACTIC REPUBLIC (17 September 2018) — The Asian Development Bank’s Board of Directors has approved a $48 million grant to help improve urban environmental services and enhance economic connectivity in Paksan and Thakhek, two of the least developed towns along the Greater Mekong Subregion Central Corridor in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

News Releases

Lao PDR Deputy Minister of Finance Ms. Thipphakone Chanthavongsa (right) and ADB Country Director for Lao PDR Mr. Yasushi Negishi (left) after signing the grant agreement on 6 September 2018 in Vientiane. Senior officials from line ministries witnessed the signing.  

ADB, Lao PDR Sign Agreement to Promote Sustainable, Climate-Smart Agribusiness

VIENTIANE, LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC (7 September 2018) — The Asian Development Bank and the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic signed an agreement for a $40.5 million grant for the Climate-Friendly Agribusiness Value Chains Sector Project that will help farmers and agribusinesses develop sustainable and climate-smart agriculture value chains in the country.

News Releases

Farmers dry cassava on an open field. The Climate-Friendly Agribusiness Value Chains Sector Project will improve the productivity, efficiency, and climate-resilience of agriculture value chains of farmers along the Greater Mekong Subregion economic corridors. Photo: ADB.

Investing in Climate-Smart Agriculture Value Chains in the Greater Mekong Subregion

The Climate-Friendly Agribusiness Value Chains Sector Project is helping transform transport corridors in the Greater Mekong Subregion into economic corridors by developing upstream and downstream linkages in agribusiness supply chains in a climate-friendly manner.

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The Japan-Mekong Connectivity Initiative invests in hard and and soft infrastructure projects in the Greater Mekong Subregion, including human resource development. Photo: ADB.

Japan, Mekong Countries Eye New Strategy for Cooperation

Foreign ministers from Japan and five Mekong nations this month identified areas of cooperation under a new strategy and reviewed the progress of joint projects in the East-West Economic Corridor and Southern Economic Corridor.

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