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

 

 

ADB-supported Event Promotes Cross-border Trade between India and GMS Countries

Trade promotion agencies of Cambodia, India, Thailand, and Viet Nam held an event promoting cross-border trade connectivity between India and countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) on 19 August. Representatives from each country gave briefings on their business environment and exchanged experiences in facilitating trade and investment cooperation. Noting challenges caused by COVID-19, they urged governments to take measures to help their small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) move beyond national borders and expand markets.

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Lao PDR’s Se Kong, Viet Nam’s Quang Nam Provinces Jointly Launch the Dakta Ok–Nam Giang Border Gates

The Governments of Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Viet Nam inaugurated the Dakta Ok (Se Kong, Lao PDR) – Nam Giang (Quang Nam, Viet Nam) border gates on 14 August 2021, which were upgraded to international status this year. This new international cross-border point is expected to further boost bilateral trade, investment, and tourism, and promote opportunities for cooperation between Viet Nam’s central key economic zone and Lao PDR’s south-central region, as well as Thailand’s southeast region.

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Luang Prabang Station along Lao PDR-People's Republic of China Railway Nears Completion

The Luang Prabang Station along the Lao PDR-People's Republic of China (PRC) railway is set to be completed in August, notes the China Radio International Vientiane. It will have two platforms, four tracks, and a station hall that can accommodate 1,200 passengers. The station’s roof incorporates a distinctive “three vertical lines, one diagonal” design in the steel structure.  

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Vientiane toll station photo by _khamla_phimmasone_US$. This file comes from Mapillary.com, a service for sharing geotagged photos. All photos are under a CC BY-SA 4.0

Lao PDR-PRC Expressway to Improve Connectivity and Boost Investment

The planned Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR)-People’s Republic of China (PRC) expressway aims to improve the transport of goods and people, promote production, and boost commerce, investment, tourism and services, in line with the Government of Lao PDR's objectives. It spans 440 kilometers and comprises four sections in total. Section 1 running between Vientiane and Vangvieng, is already in use. 

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Kuang Si Waterfalls, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. Photo by Sacha Fernandez via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Lao PDR Prepares Plan to Revive Tourism

The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT) of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has endorsed a planned strategy for the revival of the tourism industry, shared Mr. Savankhone Razmountry, Deputy Minister, MICT, at a news conference of the National Operation Centre for COVID-19 in Vientiane on 9 May. 

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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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The Joint Declaration adopted at the 11th CLV Summit provides a foundation for the socio-economic development plan until 2030. Photo by VNA.

11th CLV Summit Commits to Strengthen Development Triangle Area

Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam (CLV) Leaders expressed their firm commitment to strengthen the CLV Development Triangle Area (DTA) in order to accelerate economic growth, alleviate poverty, and promote socio-cultural progress in the subregion. At the 11th CLV Summit held online on 9 December, they adopted a Joint Declaration that provides a foundation for the subregion’s socio-economic development plan until 2030 and the Tourism Development Plan. They also adopted the Development Plan for Sustainable Rubber Industry.  

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Border check point on the Lao PDR side of the Mekong River. Laos and Thailand are now linked by “Friendship Bridge II” completed in 2007. Photo by ADB.

Sixth Thai-Lao PDR Friendship Bridge to Open in 2025

Thailand’s Ministry of Transport is scheduled to complete the 6th Thai-Lao friendship bridge by 2025, according to Mr. Saksayam Chidchob, Thailand Minister of Transport.  This new bridge promises to further enhance border trade and promote tourism between Thailand and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). 

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Bagan, Myanmar. Photo: Piktour UK via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Myanmar Releases Strategic Roadmap for Tourism Recovery

The Government of Myanmar released a Strategic Roadmap for Tourism Recovery that aims to establish ‘new normal’ conditions to help tourism make  a comeback.  

Mr. Ohn Maung, Union Minister of Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, provided guidelines for implementation of the plan. It includes three phases:  

Survival 

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