Laos 2003Laos

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Laos
Laos 

Travelex


Laos - Introduction 2003
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Background: In 1975 the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a six-century-old monarchy. Initial closer ties to Vietnam and socialization were replaced with a gradual return to private enterprise a liberalization of foreign investment laws and the admission into ASEAN in 1997.


Laos - Geography 2003
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Location: Southeastern Asia northeast of Thailand west of Vietnam

Geographic coordinates: 18 00 N 105 00 E

Map referenceSoutheast Asia

Area
Total: 236,800 km²
Water: 6,000 km²
Land: 230,800 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than Utah

Land boundaries
Total: 5,083 km
Border countries: (5) Burma 235 km; , Cambodia 541 km; , China 423 km; , Thailand 1,754 km; , Vietnam 2,130 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)

Terrain: mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus

Elevation
Extremes lowest point: Mekong River 70 m
Extremes highest point: Phou Bia 2,817 m

Natural resources: timber hydropower gypsum tin gold gemstones
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 3.47%
Permanent crops: 0.23%
Other: 96.3% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land
Note: rainy season irrigation - 2,169 km²; dry season irrigation - 750 km² (1998 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: floods droughts

Geography
Note: landlocked; most of the country is mountainous and thickly forested; the Mekong forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand


Laos - People 2003
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Population: 5,921,545 (July 2003 est.)
Growth rate: 2.45% (2003 est.)
Below poverty line: 40% (2002 est.)

Nationality
Noun: Lao or Laotian
Adjective: Lao or Laotian

Ethnic groups: Lao Loum (lowland) 68% Lao Theung (upland) 22% Lao Soung (highland) including the Hmong ('Meo') and the Yao (Mien) 9% ethnic Vietnamese/Chinese 1%

Languages: Lao (official) French English and various ethnic languages

Religions: Buddhist 60% animist and other 40% (including various Christian denominations 1.5%)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 42.2% (male 1,255,172; female 1,242,823)
15-64 years: 54.6% (male 1,592,697; female 1,639,431)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 87,192; female 104,230) (2003 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age
Total: 18.5 years
Male: 18.1 years
Female: 18.9 years (2002)

Population growth rate: 2.45% (2003 est.)

Birth rate: 36.93 births/1000 population (2003 est.)

Death rate: 12.39 deaths/1000 population (2003 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (2003 est.)

Population distribution

Urbanization

Major urban areas

Environment
Current issues: unexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
International agreements signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.04 male/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male/female
Total population: 0.98 male/female (2003 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate
Total: 88.94 deaths/1000 live births
Female: 78.41 deaths/1000 live births (2003 est.)
Male: 99.1 deaths/1000 live births

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 54.3 years
Male: 52.34 years
Female: 56.33 years (2003 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.94 children born/woman (2003 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Hiv/Aids
Adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
People living with hivaids: 1400 (2001 est.)
Deaths: less than 150 (2001 est.)

Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Literacy
Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 52.8%
Male: 67.5%
Female: 38.1% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment


Laos - Government 2003
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Country name
Conventional long form: Lao People's Democratic Republic
Conventional short form: Laos
Local short form: none
Local long form: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao

Government type: Communist state

Capital: Vientiane

Administrative divisions: 16 provinces (khoueng singular and plural) 1 municipality* (kampheng nakhon singular and plural) and 1 special zone** (khetphiset singular and plural); Attapu Bokeo Bolikhamxai Champasak Houaphan Khammouan Louangnamtha Louangphabang Oudomxai Phongsali Salavan Savannakhet Viangchan* Viangchan Xaignabouli Xaisomboun** Xekong Xiangkhoang

Dependent areas

Independence: 19 July 1949 (from France)

National holiday: Republic Day 2 December (1975)

Constitution: promulgated 14 August 1991

Legal system: based on traditional customs French legal norms and procedures and socialist practice

International law organization participation

Citizenship

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Gen. KHAMTAI Siphandon (since 26 February 1998) and Vice President Lt. Gen. CHOUMMALI Saignason (since 27 March 2001)
Head of government: Prime Minister BOUNGNANG Volachit (since 27 March 2001); First Deputy Prime Minister Maj. Gen. ASANG Laoli (since NA May 2002), Deputy Prime Minister THONGLOUN Sisolit (since 27 March 2001), and Deputy Prime Minister SOMSAVAT Lengsavat (since 26 February 1998)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president, approved by the National Assembly
Elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 24 February 2002 (next to be held NA 2007); prime minister appointed by the president with the approval of the National Assembly for a five-year term
Election results: KHAMTAI Siphandon elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA%

Legislative branch
Elections: last held 24 February 2002 (next to be held NA 2007)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - LPRP or LPRP-approved (independent, non-party members) 109

Judicial branch: People's Supreme Court (the president of the People's Supreme Court is elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the National Assembly Standing Committee; the vice president of the People's Supreme Court and the judges are appointed by the National Assembly Standing Committee)

Political parties and leaders: Lao People's Revolutionary Party or LPRP [KHAMTAI Siphandon party president]; other parties proscribed

International organization participation: ACCT ARF AsDB ASEAN CP ESCAP FAO G-77 IBRD ICAO ICRM IDA IFAD IFC IFRCS ILO IMF Interpol IOC ITU NAM OPCW PCA UN UNCTAD UNESCO UNIDO UPU WFTU WHO WIPO WMO WToO WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador PHANTHONG Phommahaxay
In the us fax: [1] (202) 332-4,923
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 332-6,416
In the us chancery: 2,222 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20,008
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Douglas A. HARTWICK
From the us embassy: 19 Rue Bartholonie, B. P. 114, Vientiane
From the us mailing address: American Embassy, Box V, APO AP 96,546
From the us telephone: [856] (21) 212,581, 212,582, 212,585
From the us fax: [856] (21) 212,584

Flag descriptionflag of Laos: three horizontal bands of red (top) blue (double width) and red with a large white disk centered in the blue band

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage


Laos - Economy 2003
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Economy overview: The government of Laos - one of the few remaining official Communist states - began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. The results starting from an extremely low base were striking - growth averaged 7% in 1988-2001 except during the short-lived drop caused by the Asian financial crisis beginning in 1997. Despite this high growth rate Laos remains a country with a primitive infrastructure; it has no railroads a rudimentary road system and limited external and internal telecommunications. Electricity is available in only a few urban areas. Subsistence agriculture accounts for half of GDP and provides 80% of total employment. The economy will continue to benefit from aid from the IMF and other international sources and from new foreign investment in food processing and mining.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 5.7% (2002 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 53%
Industry: 23%
Services: 24% (2001 est.)

Agriculture products: sweet potatoes vegetables corn coffee sugarcane tobacco cotton; tea peanuts rice; water buffalo pigs cattle poultry

Industries: tin and gypsum mining timber electric power agricultural processing construction garments tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 7.5% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 2.4 million (1999)
By occupation: agriculture 80% (1997 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 5.7% (1997 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: 40% (2002 est.)

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10: 3.2%
Highest 10: 30.6% (1997)

Distribution of family income gini index: 37 (1997)

Budget
Revenues: $211 million
Expenditures: $462 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY98/99 est. est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues

Revenue

Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 10% (2002 est.)

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $345 million (2002 est.)
Commodities: wood products garments electricity coffee tin
Partners: Vietnam 25.7% Thailand 19% France 7.5% Germany 5.3% (2002)

Imports: $555 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: machinery and equipment vehicles fuel consumer goods
Partners: Thailand 58.9% Vietnam 12.3% China 7.9% (2002)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $2.53 billion (1999)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: kips per US dollar - 7,562 (2002) 8,955 (2001) 7,888 (2000) 7,102 (1999) 3,298 (1998)


Laos - Energy 2003
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 1.317 billion kWh (2001)
By source fossil fuel: 1.4%
By source hydro: 98.6%
By source other: 0% (2001)
By source nuclear: 0%

Electricity consumption: 824.7 million kWh (2001)

Electricity exports: 400 million kWh (2001)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (2001)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources

Petroleum

Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita


Laos - Communication 2003
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: 4,915 (1997)

Telephone system
General assessment: service to general public is poor but improving with over 20,000 telephones currently in service and an additional 48,000 expected by 2001; the government relies on a radiotelephone network to communicate with remote areas
Domestic: radiotelephone communications
International: satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region)

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .la

Internet users: 10,000 (2002)

Broadband fixed subscriptions


Laos - Military 2003
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $55 million (FY98)
Percent of gdp: 4.2% (FY96)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups


Laos - Transportation 2003
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 51 (2002)
With paved runways total: 9
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 5
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 3 (2002)
With unpaved runways total: 42
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 15
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 26 (2002)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 9
2438 to 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 5
914 to 1523 m: 3 (2002)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 42
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 15
Under 914 m: 26 (2002)

Heliports

Pipelines: refined products 540 km (2003)

Railways: 0 km

Roadways

Waterways
Note: primarily Mekong and tributaries; 2,897 additional km are intermittently navigable by craft drawing less than 0.5 m

Merchant marine
Total: 1 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 2,370 GRT/3,110 DWT
Ships by type: cargo 1 (2002 est.)

Ports and terminals


Laos - Transnational issues 2003
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Disputes international: demarcation of boundaries with Cambodia Thailand and Vietnam is nearing completion but with Thailand several areas including Mekong River islets remain in dispute; ongoing disputes with Thailand and Vietnam over squatters

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: world's third-largest illicit opium producer (estimated cultivation in 2002 - 23,200 hectares a 5% increase over 2001; estimated potential production in 2002 - 180 metric tons a 10% decrease from 2001); potential heroin producer; transshipment point for heroin and methamphetamine produced in Burma; illicit producer of cannabis; growing methamphetamine abuse problem


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