New World Bank Report on Lao PDR: To Turn Economic Growth into Poverty Reduction

May 24, 2016

Vientiane, May 24, 2016 — Lao PDR is one of the fastest growing economies in the East Asia and Pacific region.  It expanded by around 7 percent in 2015, after growing by 7.5 percent in 2014, according to the World Bank’s latest Lao PDR Economic Monitor. Increased power generation, services and construction contributed most to economic growth.

The report finds that poverty has declined in Lao PDR and is now 23.2 percent, however many households are still vulnerable of falling back into poverty. About half of the poor in 2013 were previously not poor in 2008. Creating better economic opportunities for the poor and non-poor can help accelerate poverty alleviation, especially through job creation and investments in education and social protection programs.

"Growth has been strong and many people escaped poverty, however poverty reduction can be even stronger,” said World Bank Country Manager for Lao PDR, Sally Burningham. “With its growing economy, the Government can take steps to improve Laos’ business environment and attract investment to create quality non-farm jobs and raise wages, while strengthening overall competitiveness.”

The Lao PDR economy is projected to expand at 7 percent in 2016, with power generation expected to increase by more than 30 percent over 2015. Increased ASEAN integration will open opportunities, including in transport, trade, increased participation in value chains and tourism. Similar trends are expected to continue over 2017 and 2018. While the near-term outlook remains favorable, external risks have increased, including from the economic slowdown in China, and continuing slow growth in Thailand.

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