Laos achieves remarkable progress in poverty reduction

April 4, 2013

Communist and Lao PDR flags waving along the banks of Mekong.

Communist and Lao PDR flags waving along the banks of Mekong.

The number of poor families in Laos has dropped to 17 percent, it was revealed yesterday during a review of the implementation of the government’s 7th National Socio-Economic Development Plan.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment presented the mid term review of the 2011-15 socio-economic development plan to Laos’ development partners. One of the highlights was that in the first two and a half years of implementation, there has been a significant decline in the number of poor families.

Development partners, senior government officials and economists attended the half day presentation session. Planning Department Deputy Director General Ms Phonevanh Outhanvong and Asian Development Bank Country Deputy Director Mr Barend Frielink presided over the meeting.

According to the review, the government expects to lower the percentage of poor families even further to 15 percent by the end of this year and to 10 percent in 2015. In 2011, it was estimated that 19 percent of families in the country were poor.

The government has spent about 896 billion kip on its poverty reduction programme and plans to spend 7,387 billion kip from 2011 to 2015.

To achieve development targets, the government has built roads to the poorest districts to enable people in rural areas to transport their crops to markets in urban areas.

The government has also encouraged people to grow crops such as sweetcorn, coffee, cassava and sugarcane to generate more income.

Ms Phonevanh thanked the development partners, saying that without their support Laos would not have been able to achieve this measure of success.

“The government has faced several difficulties in implementing the 7th socio-economic development plan, including the global economic crisis and climate change. However, with our increased efforts and the assistance of our development partners, Laos has achieved a number of successes,” she said during a speech to open the meeting.

The presentation noted that Laos has been able to sustain economic growth of at least eight percent.

The growth rate was 8.1 percent in the fiscal year 2010-11 and 8.3 percent in 2011-12.

The main driving force of economic growth over the past two and a half years has been the industry and service sectors. Industry contributed 29.6 percent of total GDP in the 2011-12 fiscal year while the service

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