Laos prospers under Party guidance

Laos has enjoyed numerous successes in several spheres under the leadership of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party over the past 63 years (March 22, 1955-March 22, 2018).
From 1975 until the present, development efforts have focused on the economy, socio-cultural growth, infrastructure, health, education, tourism, poverty reduction, information, investment, the passing of laws, and foreign affairs.
All of these areas have seen improvement in parallel with the country’s overall development.
The living conditions of the multi-ethnic people in both urban and rural areas have steadily improved. But poverty remains a critical issue for Laos, and the Party, state and all citizens are working to alleviate poverty. 
The overall poverty rate has fallen year by year as the number of individual households officially classified as poor steadily declines. From 2011 to 2015, figures pertaining to poverty and development for that period show that the number of poor districts has dropped from 53 to 23 at present.


In 2018, an additional 330 sub-projects will be carried out to help reduce poverty, with total funding of 94 billion kip.
Of the 1,138,287 families countrywide in 2014, some 92,328 were in the low income bracket. In 2013 the number of poor families stood at 116,808.
Since 1975, when Laos achieved liberation, more than 6,300 villages have been connected to the electricity grid or have access to other sources of energy for daily use. More than 7,000 villages have all-weather roads, according to the government’s 2014 assessment of poverty and development.  
The health network has expanded nationwide. There are five main hospitals in Vientiane, 135 community hospitals and 1,020 dispensaries. Average longevity now stands at 64 years.
More than 900 dispensaries stock basic medical equipment and are able to assist with the delivery of babies by midwives and doctors. More than 170 dispensaries have been upgraded and will become district hospitals in the future. Throughout the country there are 130 district hospitals and 17 provincial hospitals. There are five major hospitals in Vientiane.
Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, Savannakhet and Champassak hospitals have been upgraded to regional hospitals.  Apart from public hospitals, Laos has 13 private hospitals, with eight in Vientiane and five in the provinces. There are more than 1,000 private clinics. Almost 5,000 villages have been declared model villages of health.
Last year, the government put 180 billion kip into the health insurance scheme. The scheme is being rolled out in 17 provinces, generating more satisfaction with medical services. Beneficiaries pay only 15,000 kip for outpatient services and 30,000 kip for inpatient treatment.
The Party views education as a top priority for development. Since liberation in 1975, the number of public and private schools has proliferated. There are now more than 1,800 nursery schools and kindergartens and over 10,000 primary and secondary schools.
Laos has five universities and more than 100 colleges and vocational schools. Vientiane alone has 30 private colleges. Illiteracy has been eradicated in 14 provinces.
Last year, the rate of primary school enrollment reached 98.7 percent. This is in stark contrast to 1975 when 90 percent of the population was illiterate. There are now 153 vocational training centres in Laos and the unemployment rate does not rise above 2 percent.
Among the country’s key achievements since the revolution is the growth of the economy. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has risen steadily since the country opened up the economy to private enterprise in 1986.
According to the draft socio-economic plan in 2017, GDP growth reached 6.9 percent in 2015-2016, falling short of the target of 7.5 percent.
The growth rate in agriculture is currently 3 percent, accounting for 23.3 percent of the economy. In 2017, Lao farmers produced 4.27 million tonnes of rice, up from just 660,938 tonnes in 1976.
Meanwhile the growth rate of industry is now 8 percent per year, accounting for 28.8 percent of the economy, while the service sector is growing at 8.5 percent and accounts for 39.8 percent of the economy.
Agriculture and forestry, industry and services are the main drivers of economic growth.
Laos’ main exports are mineral products and commodities, electricity, agricultural products, non-forest products, coffee, wood products, and garments.
Source: Ministries of Education and Sports, Health, and Planning and Investment.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 22, 2018

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