Lao People's Democratic Republic

Quick Facts

Population7 million (2016)
GDP at PPP (current international dollars) 45 billion (2016)
GDP per capita at PPP (current international dollars)5,416 (2015)
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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
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Connecting Nations, Linking People

This publication outlines the GMS Economic Cooperation Program (GMS Program) which was initiated in 1992 with the support of ADB. It aims to promote economic cooperation among Cambodia, People's Republic of China (PRC), Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
The GMS Program covers nine priority sectors: transportation, telecommunications, energy, environment, human resource development, trade, investment, tourism, and agriculture.


Journal of Greater Mekong Subregion Development Studies - October 2005

The fledgling Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Journal for Development Studies, published under the auspices of the Phnom Penh Plan (PPP) for Development Management, moves a step ahead with the second issue. In what might be considered as "ascending steps," GMS scholarship is moving forward, slowly but surely. The PPP's commitment is to ensure that we continue to make strides towards our goal of bridging the gap between research and capacity building and to propagate the gospel of balanced socioeconomic development in the GMS.


Journal of Greater Mekong Subregion Development Studies - December 2004

This is the inaugural issue of the Journal of Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Development Studies. It is published under the auspices of the Phnom Penh Plan (PPP) for Development Management, a recent capacity building initiative of GMS countries supported by the Asian Development Bank and the New Zealand Agency for International Development. Enhancing skills and knowledge of middle and senior GMS civil servants is at the heart of the PPP. The journal seeks to complement this effort by promoting a better understanding of GMS development issues.


Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment

The Greater Mekong Subregion Atlas of the Environment champions the environment of a unique part of Asia, an area straddled by rivers great and small, with bountiful watersheds, wetlands, and forests.
The Atlas celebrates the peoples of the subregion, and presents the environmental challenges they face and their responses. It reminds us that the subregion's peoples and communities are key to maintaining its environment.