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.
The Eighteenth Meeting of the Subregional Transport Forum (STF-18) was held in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. The Forum was jointly organized by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) of Viet Nam and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The Nineteenth Meeting of the Subregional Transport Forum (STF-19) was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The 34th Meeting of the GMS Tourism Working Group (TWG-34) was held in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, on 18 November 2014, attended by representatives of the National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) of the six GMS countries (Cambodia, PRC, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam), the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Representatives of development partners including Swisscontact, GIZ and Luxembourg Development Cooperation also attended.
The 17th Meeting of the Regional Power Trade Coordination Committee (RPTCC-17) was held to (i) discuss the progress on the bids for the venue for the headquarters of the Regional Power Coordination Center (RPCC) which will serve as a permanent institution to enhance regional power trade and implement regional power interconnection in the GMS; (ii) provide updates on the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries’ power development plans focusing on cross-border projects; (iii) discuss the assistance of development partners to support RPTCC activities; (iv) consider the draft report on the GMS
The Third Meeting of the GMS Task Force on Urban Development in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) from 11–12 September 2014 was held to (i) review the draft GMS Urban Development Strategy1 and Implementation Plan; (ii) discuss the GMS Regional Investment Framework (RIF) Implementation Plan, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system, and the results of the GMS Sixth Economic Corridors Forum (ECF-6) in Ha Noi, Viet Nam (8 August 2014) on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Cross Border Economic Zones (CBEZs); and (iii) agree on the way forward of the GMS Urban Development S
This assessment indicates a mixed performance for the Transport Sector Strategy Study, 2006-2015 based on an assessment of the overarching goals upon which the study was based.
The Development Partners’ Assistance Matrix for the GMS Economic Cooperation Program is an inventory of development partners’ ongoing and planned subregional projects in the GMS.
The Thirteenth Meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Working Group on Human Resource Development (WGHRD-13) was held in Ha Noi, Viet Nam on 29-30 October 2014 with the theme “Strengthening Human Resource Development Cooperation in the Greater Mekong Subregion.”
This issue of the Journal of Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Development Studies features five articles of subregional importance spanning the subjects of free trade areas, tourism, and human trafficking.