Lao People's Democratic Republic
|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.
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.
The Nam Ngiep 1 Hydropower Project in Bolikhamxay, Lao Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), started generating electricity for export to Thailand in early September 2019, becoming the latest fully operational Independent Power Producer in the country.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) in coordination with International Organization for Migration
(IOM) organized the Regional Knowledge Exchange Workshop on Malaria Interventions Among
Mobile Migrant Populations in Bangkok on 17 to 18 May 2018 to share successes, challenges,
and lessons learned during the implementation of RCDTA 8959-REG: Malaria and
Communicable Diseases Control in the GMS.
Blessed with rich natural resources and a strategic location at the heart of the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has emerged from decades of turmoil and isolation to become one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia since 2011.
Financial resource mobilization by the Malaria Trust Fund has helped eradicate malaria and build strong foundations for health systems in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have identified 19 priority infrastructure projects to enhance regional connectivity and mobilize investments. Fifteen of the projects are in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
Thailand is embarking on several projects in its northeastern region to improve travel to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).
The International Finance Corporation is partnering with Thailand-based Amata Corporation to develop sustainability projects for cities, towns, and industrial zones in the Greater Mekong Subregion. The projects will promote green growth and sustainable design practices.
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic has issued a law to guide railway development and ensure integration of its rail services with regional and global networks.
The People’s Republic of China, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Thailand have agreed to build a railway bridge that will be part of a high-speed rail line connecting the three countries.