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 is helping Lao PDR reduce economic losses resulting from floods and droughts. The project will pair upgrades in water management infrastructure with community-based disaster risk management and enhanced regional forecasting to improve disaster preparedness in the GMS. Photo by ADB. 

New Irrigation Systems and Information are Helping Revive Livelihoods in Lao PDR

Orlathai Ferchanthala dreams of turning her family’s subsistence farm into a commercial business growing rice and a range of cash crops, raising livestock, and outfitted with a modern irrigation system.

“The soil here is suitable for growing various crops, and the grass is perfect for raising cattle,” said Ferchanthala, a 35-year-old mother of three living in a rural community in southern Vientiane. “We need irrigation schemes to bring water into our farming areas in the dry season and proper dikes to protect us from floods in the rainy season.”

Projects

Don Sahong Dam was built by Malaysia’s Mega First Corporation Berhad and EDL-Generation Public Company on the Mekong River in southern Champasak province in Lao PDR. Photo from Khmer Times.

Lao PDR Connects 195 MW Electricity to Cambodia’s National Grid

Tests have been completed on four electricity generators that will link 195 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Don Sahong Dam in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) to Cambodia’s national grid.

GMS in the News

Border gate between Lao PDR and Viet Nam in Lao Bao (ADB Photo)

Lao PDR, Viet Nam Plan to Open New International Borders

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Viet Nam plan to upgrade two local border crossing points to international border crossings this year. The plan was announced during the 29th annual border meeting of the two neighboring countries on 26 December 2019 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. 

The Dak Ta-Ok (Lao PDR)–Nam Giang (Viet Nam) between Xekong (Lao PDR) and Quang Nam (Viet Nam) provinces will be the first international crossing point in Xekong. The neighboring countries plan to open this upgraded international border crossing in the first quarter of 2020.

GMS in the News

Regional Workshop: Strengthening Risk Communications for Health Emergencies in the GMS

The Department of Communicable Disease Control of the Ministry of Health of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) conducted a Regional Workshop on Strengthening Risk Communications for Health Emergencies in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) on 12 to 13 September 2019 in Xieng Kouang Province, Lao People's Democratic Republic (under L3465/G0516-LAO: GMS Health Security Project).

Events

Identifying Strategies and Policies to Improve Health Services’ Access and Availability for Ethnic Groups and Vulnerable Populations in the Greater Mekong Subregion

The Ministry of Health (MOH) of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) conducted a Regional Workshop on Identifying Strategies and Policies to Improve Health Services’ Access and Availability for Ethnic Groups and Vulnerable Populations in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) on 12–13 December 2019 in the Don Chan Palace Hotel, Vientiane.

Events

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

Asian Development Fund grant financing for a project in Lao PDR helped scale up efforts to improve food safety and ensure plant and animal health by improving sanitary and phytosanitary capacity in the country. Photo by Asian Development Bank. 

Together We Deliver Highlights Lives Improved through Asian Development Fund Grants 

Together We Deliver: Grants for a Brighter Future is a special edition of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) annual publication featuring stories of lives uplifted across Asia and the Pacific through grant financing by the Asian Development Fund (ADF). The ADF provides grants to support activities that reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in “ADF countries”—the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the region.

Publications