Lao People's Democratic Republic  

Quick Facts

Population 7 million (2017)
GDP at PPP (current international dollars) 48 billion (2017)
GDP per capita at PPP (current international dollars) 7,023 (2017)

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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

 

 

Lao PDR, Thailand Note Growth in Relations

Thailand Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-O-Cha congratulated newly-elected Lao PDR Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh in a phone conversation on 8 April. The Lao PDR Prime Minister lauded the government of Thailand's efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and thanked them for the support extended to Lao PDR. He also expressed gratitude for Thailand's support in Lao PDR's human resource development.

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First container ship received at Vung Ang Port (Lao-Viet International Port). Photo by Nhan Dan Newspaper via Viet Nam Times

Viet Nam International Port in Ha Tinh Receives First Container Cargo

Vung Ang Port (Lao-Viet International Port), a sea port in Ha Tinh, Viet Nam, that will facilitate cargo transportation from Viet Nam to Lao PDR, Thailand's northeastern region, and Viet Nam's central provinces, received its first container ship on 10 April. The shipment was transported from Tan Cang Port in Hai Phong, Viet Nam. The Vung Ang Port can accommodate cargo ships of up to 50,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage) and container ships of up to 2,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit).

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The watershed of the Nakai Reservoircontains Lao PDR's largest biodiversity area with an outstanding collection of plants and animals endemic to Southeast Asia. Photo by ADB

PRC Firm, Lao PDR Sign MoU for Forest Restoration and Agri Development Study

Jiarun Agricultural Development Co, Ltd., of the People's Republic of China, and the Ministry of Planning and Investment of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the feasibility study for a forest restoration and ecological agriculture development project. The MoU states that the feasibility study will be conducted for 5,000 hectares of land in Sanamxay district of Attapeu province in southern Lao PDR. The project is envisioned to generate over 50,000 local jobs, promoting the local economy and raising the people's living standards. 

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Transmission tower in Lao PDR. Photo by IG (CC BY 2.0).

Lao PDR Signs Concession Agreement with Electricity Joint Venture

The Government of Lao PDR and the Electricite du Laos Transmission Company Limited (EDL-T), the joint venture between China Southern Power Grid and Electricite du Laos of the Lao PDR, have signed a Concession Agreement on 11 March. The agreement states that EDL-T will serve as the country's national power grid operator under the supervision of the Government of Lao PDR. It will invest, construct, and operate power grids (230 kilovolts and above), and implement grid interconnection projects between Lao PDR and its neighbors.  

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Cambodia, Lao PDR, Viet Nam Leaders Vow to Boost Cooperation against COVID-19 and Strengthen Trade

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen, Lao PDR Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, and Viet Nam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc held a virtual discussion on 10 March 2021. They lauded their growing relationship and agreed to further strengthen their cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 and in other sectors, including connectivity, energy, and trade and investment.  

Lao PDR expressed appreciation for Cambodia’s medical supply donation to help them combat COVID-19.  

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National Single Window Simplifies and Streamlines Lao PDR’s Cross-border Trade

The National Single Window in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) aims to simplify and streamline the import, export, and transit of all goods and cargo at all international borders and airports in the Lao PDR. The National Single Window is linked to the ASYCUDA system. It facilitates customs clearance and highlights transparency in trade.  

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Lao PDR, Viet Nam to Open New International Border Crossing

The Governments of Lao PDR and Viet Nam will upgrade the Dakta-ok-Nam Giang border crossing between Sekong (Lao PDR) and Quang Nam (Viet Nam) provinces to international status, with the Sekong province opening its first international border crossing on 24 March. This upgrade will further ease the movement of goods and people between the two countries, and shorten the distance between Thailand and Viet Nam via the southern Lao PDR route by more than 100 kilometres.

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Prime Ministers of Lao PDR and Thailand Discuss Cooperation on Health and Energy

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O-Cha discussed bolstering friendly neighborhood ties, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation, and energy trade in a phone call. The two leaders underscored how enhancing bilateral relations would benefit the two countries, and contribute to peace, stability, and cooperation for development in the region. They also agreed that closer cooperation will help them deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and boost trade and investment to help restore their economies. The call also dis

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