Location: South Eastern Asia

Capital: Vientiane

Population (2012): 6,586,266
Surface area: 236,800 sq km
Currency: Kip
GDP per capita (2011): US $ 1,303
Economy – Overview:
The government of Laos began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. The results, starting from an extremely low base, were striking – growth averaged 6% per year from 1988-2008 except during the short-lived drop caused by the Asian financial crisis that began in 1997. Despite this high growth rate, Laos remains a country with a weak infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. It has a rudimentary, but improving, road system, and limited external and internal telecommunications. China has signed a deal with the Lao to build a high speed rail system in the country. Construction on the $7 billion project is slated to begin in April 2011 and will take five years. Electricity is available in urban areas and in many rural districts. Subsistence agriculture accounts for about 30% of GDP and 75% of total employment. Economic growth has reduced official poverty rates from 46% in 1992 to 26% in 2010. The economy has benefited from high foreign investment in hydropower, mining, and construction. Laos gained Normal Trade Relations status with the US in 2004, and joined the World Trade Organization on 2nd February 2013. Related trade policy reforms will improve the business environment. On the fiscal side, Laos initiated a VAT tax system in 2010. Simplified investment procedures and expanded bank credits for small farmers and small entrepreneurs will improve Lao’s economic prospects. The government appears committed to raising the country’s profile among investors. The World Bank has declared that Laos’s goal of graduating from the UN Development Program’s list of least-developed countries by 2020 is achievable. According Laotian officials, the 7th Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2011-15 will outline efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals.
Human Development Index ranking (2012): 138 out of 186
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (2011): US $ 397 million
Top Three Donors of gross ODA: Japan, Thailand, AsDF
FDI inflows (2012): $ 294million
Total External Debt (2011): US $ 6.2 billion
External debt stock (% of GNI) (2011): 80.3
Merchandise exports (2011): US$ 2,216 million
Terms of trade index (2012): 109.4
Cost to export per container (2013): US $ 2,140
HIPC Position (2012): Not eligible


United Nations Membership date: 14 December 1955
New York Mission:
Address: Permanent Mission of the Lao People’s Democratic
Republic to the United Nations
317 East 51st Street, New York, N.Y. 10022
Telephone: (212) 832-2734, -0095
Telefax: (212) 750-0039
e-mail: lao@un.int
Correspondence: English and French
National holiday: 2 December