Laos enjoys stable socioeconomic development
Sunday, 30 March 2008

Laos, a landlocked Southeast Asian country, has seen steady remarkable improvements in various spheres, especially economy and infrastructure since the adoption of its renovation policy in 1986, reports Xinhua.

Entering the 21st century, Laos adopted a policy on shifting to industry and modernization with a major target of lifting the country from least developed status by 2020, gradually removing the situation in which many local people live in poverty, productivity of all sectors, especially agriculture is low, and there are severe shortages of advanced equipment and technologies, and funds.

To this end, Laos has prioritized its power, agricultural and forest processing, tourism, mining, and construction material industries, and paid due attention to education, science, technology, transport and marketing sectors. Laos posted gross domestic product ( GDP) growth of 7.6 percent in 2007, up from 7.5 percent in 2006.

The country’s income per capita rose to 678 U.S. dollars in 2007 from 443 dollars in 2006, 438 dollars in 2005, 200 dollars in 1985 and 76 dollars in 1975, according to its official figures. Its inflation rate stood at 5.5 percent last year. Laos’ currency, kip, was stronger against U.S. dollar, which was over 9, 300 kip for one dollar in 2007, compared with more than 10,000 kip for one dollar in 2006.

Laos plans to expand electricity services to 70 percent of its total area by 2010 and 90 percent by 2020 from 58 percent in late 2007. The country hopes that a total of 150,000-200,000 households nationwide will have access to national power grids from 2005 to 2020, according to the Laos Electricity Department.

The 1.2-billion dollar Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric plant in Khammuan province, Laos’ biggest power project, is scheduled to become operational in 2009.

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