Lao (PDR)

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has experienced an impressive economic growth rate of over 6 percent annually during the past two decades ever since it shifted from a planned to a market-based economy.  It continues to develop rapidly, driven by a natural resources boom (hydropower and mining).

Classified as a “least developed country”, Lao PDR had its membership application to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) approved in late 2012.

Lao PDR’s 7th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2011–2015) sets out a clear mandate for sustainable development over the next few years and the economy is expected to continue to expand at 8.0 percent per annum.

Sixty per cent of this expansion is expected to be generated from private investment and driven mainly from growth in the construction, manufacturing, mining, tourism and the service sectors.

The government is committed to creating a favourable business environment that is responsive to private sector needs and direct foreign investment. Special economic zones and incentives have been created to encourage investment development.

GDP and Population Growth Forecasts

2012   2013 2014 2015 2016
 $7.4 GDP ($bn)  $8.0 $8.7  $9.6  $10.5 
  GDP Growth %  7.7% 8.8%  10.8%  9.1% 
 6.69 Population (m)  6.82  6.95  7.08 7.21 
  Population Growth %  1.9% 1.9%  1.9%  1.9% 
  GDP per Capita  $1,170  $1,250 $1,358  $1,454 
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)