‘Unlocking’ reform policies can help Laos realise economic potential: WB

Laos is facing significant economic challenges but has the potential to develop sustainably and more equitably, according to a new World Bank report.

The latest Lao PDR Country Economic Memorandum, “Linking Laos, Unlocking Policies”, analyses economic performance over the last 20 years and draws lessons from inside and outside Laos to recommend how the country might best use its natural advantages.

The report was launched today with a panel discussion featuring representatives from government, the private sector and academia.

The report finds that following rapid growth in the early 2000s, Laos has become limited by an economic model dependent on capital-intensive resource industries such as mining and hydropower.

While these sectors have generated economic growth, the benefits have not been widely shared — for example through job creation. While poverty has decreased, it has done so more slowly than in other fast-growing economies, and growth has come at an environmental cost.

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