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

 

 

The Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway is an integral section of the eastern link of the GMS Northern Economic Corridor, connecting Kunming in Yunnan province of the PRC with Hanoi, and Hai Phong and Cai Lan ports in Viet Nam. Photo by ADB.

Lao Cai, Viet Nam as an Investment Spotlight 

Viet Nam’s Lao Cai province has become a ‘promising destination for foreign investments,’ according to a feature on the Viet Nam Briefing, with its strategic location on the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Northern Economic Corridor and its connectivity to the southwestern region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Key sectors of investment in Lao Cai include construction, tourism, and a

GMS in the News

Phnom Penh skyline reflecting the city's rapid growth. The Central Market, built in 1937, is seen in the foreground. Photo by Lor Teng Huy - own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

GMS Ministers to Gather in Phnom Penh for the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference

The Ministers of the six member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are set to lay the groundwork for the preparation for the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders. 

Hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference (MC-23) will take place in Phnom Penh on 18 November 2019, with the theme "Greater Integration, Inclusivity and Sustainability in the GMS.”   

Articles

The development of night markets in three towns along the Mekong River aims to help revitalize the Greater Mekong Subregion and reduce poverty. Photo credit: Javier Coloma Brotons.

Increasing Economic Activities through Night Markets

A pilot project has developed night markets in selected border towns in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) to take advantage of the economic opportunities opened by infrastructure projects in the area.

Articles

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

Cargo trucks pass through the Second Lao–Thai Friendship Bridge over the Mekong river, which connects Savannakhet City with Mukdahan province. The bridge has helped improved the Lao PDR’s access to seaports in neighboring countries. Photo: ADB.

Lao PDR Steps Up Its Bid to Become a Logistics Hub with First Dry Port

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is operating its first dry port in Savannakhet province, where it is strategically positioned along the Greater Mekong Subregion East-West Economic Corridor, at the mid-point between the nearest Vietnamese seaport of Danang, and Thai ports in Bangkok and Laem Chabang.

Articles