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Laos Facts

Laos Facts | Lao People's Democratic Republic Information | Laos Statistics | Laos

Laos Facts |  Lao People's Democratic Republic Information | Laos Statistics Laos Facts |  Lao People's Democratic Republic Information | Laos Statistics
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  Laos Facts |  Lao People's Democratic Republic Information | Laos Statistics  
Background: Modern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th Century under King FA NGUM. For three hundred years Lan Xang included large parts of present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the control of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. A gradual return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began in 1986. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997.
Common Name: Laos Local Official Name: Laos
Abbreviated Name: Lao People's Democratic Republic Official Name: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
Official Script Name: Laos Local Common Name: Laos
Former Name: Laos Territory of: NA
Head of State: President Lt. Gen. CHOUMMALI Saignason
Government Type: Communist state
Independence: 1949 July 19 (from France)
Constitution: 1991 August 14 promulgated
National Holiday: Republic Day, 2 December
International Organization Participation: ACCT, APT, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO (observer)
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, Louangphrabang, Oudomxai, Phongsali, Salavan, Savannakhet, Viangchan (Vientiane)*, Viangchan, Xaignabouli, Xaisomboun**, Xekong, Xiangkhoang
Dependent Areas: NA
Legal System: based on traditional customs, French legal norms and procedures, and socialist practice
Suffrage: 18 years
Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches: Executive Branch: Chief of state: President Lt. Gen. CHOUMMALI Saignason (since 8 June 2006) and Vice President BOUN-GNANG Volachit (since 8 June 2006) head of government: Prime Minister BOUASONE Bouphavanh (since 8 June 2006); Deputy Prime Minister Maj. Gen. ASANG Laoli (since May 2002), Deputy Prime Minister Maj. Gen. DOUANGCHAI Phichit [since 8 June 2006], Deputy Prime Minister SOMSAVAT Lengsavat (since 26 February 1998), and Deputy Prime Minister THONGLOUN Sisolit (since 27 March 2001) cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president, approved by the National Assembly Elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly for five-year terms; election last held 8 June 2006 (next to be held in 2011); prime minister nominated by the president and elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term Election results: CHOUMMALI Saignason elected president; BOUN-GNANG Volachit elected vice president; percent of National Assembly vote - 100%; BOUASONE Bouphavanh elected prime minister; percent of National Assembly vote - 97% Legislative Branch: unicameral National Assembly (115 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: last held 30 April 2006 (next to be held in 2011) election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LPRP 113, independents 2 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)
Party Leaders: Lao People's Revolutionary Party or LPRP [CHOUMMALY Sayasone]; other parties proscribed
International Disputes: Southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on completion of demarcation with Thailand but disputes remain over several areas along Mekong River and Thai squatters; concern among Mekong Commission members that China's construction of dams on the Mekong River will affect water levels
Illicit Drugs: estimated cultivation in 2004 - 10,000 hectares, a 45% decrease from 2003; estimated potential production in 2004 - 49 metric tons, a significant decrease from 200 metric tons in 2003 
  Laos Facts |  Lao People's Democratic Republic Information | Laos Statistics  
Location of Laos: Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam
Continent: Asia Land Area Total: 236,800 sq km 
Region: South East Asia Land Area Land: 230,800 sq km
Capitol City: Vientiane Land Area Water: 6,000 sq km
Latitude: 018 00 N Border Boundary Land: 5,083 km
Longitude: 105 00 E Border Boundary Coastline: 0 km 
Arable Land: 4.01 % Pastures: 0.00 %
Crops: 0.34 % Woodlands and Forests: 0.00
Highest Elevation: 2,817 m Location: Phou Bia
Lowest Elevation: 70 m Location: Mekong River
Largest City in Laos: Vientiane Vientiane Largest City Population: 0
Threatened Species: 87
Environmental Issues: unexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; most of the population does not have access to potable water
Environmental Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Irrigated Land: 1,750
Bordering Countries: Burma 235 km, Cambodia 541 km, China 423 km, Thailand 1,754 km, Vietnam 2,130 km
Natural Resources: timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones
Geographical Terrain: mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus
Comparative Area of Laos: slightly larger than Utah
Laos's Geography: landlocked; most of the country is mountainous and thickly forested; the Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand

  Laos Facts |  Lao People's Democratic Republic Information | Laos Statistics  
General Climate: tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)
Natural Hazards: floods, droughts
  Laos Facts |  Lao People's Democratic Republic Information | Laos Statistics  
Economic 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 6% in 1988-2004 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, though the government is sponsoring major improvements in the road system with possible support from Japan. Electricity is available in only a few urban areas. Subsistence agriculture, dominated by rice, accounts for about half of GDP and provides 80% of total employment. The economy will continue to benefit from aid by the IMF and other international sources and from new foreign investment in food processing and mining. Construction will be another strong economic driver, especially as hydroelectric dam and road projects gain steam. In late 2004, Laos gained Normal Trade Relations status with the US, allowing Laos-based producers to face lower tariffs on exports. This new status may help spur growth. In addition, the European Union has agreed to provide $1 million to the Lao Government for technical assistance in preparations for WTO membership. If the avian flu worsens and spreads in the region, however, prospects for tourism could dim.
GDP: $12,130,000,000 USD Currency: kip
GDP per Capita: $1,900 USD Currency Code: LAK
GDP Growth Rate: 7.20 %
Currency Exchange Rate History: kips per US dollar - 10,820 (2005), 10,585.5 (2004), 10,569 (2003), 10,056.3 (2002), 8,954.6 (2001)
GDP of Agriculture: 45.50 % GDP of Industry: 28.70 %
GDP of Services: 25.80 %  
Inflation Rate: 7.00 % Population in Poverty: 34.00 %
Unemployment Rate: 2.40 % Tourism: 259,000.00 visitors each year
Consumption by lowest 10%: 3.20 % Budget Revenue in USD: $319,300,000 USD
Consumption by upper 10%: 30.60 % Budget Expenditures in USD: $434,600,000 USD
Electricity Production: 3,767,000,000 kWh Electricity Exports: 435,000,000 kWh
Electricity Consumption: 3,298,000,000 kWh Electricity Imports: 230,000,000 kWh

Electricity Production by Source:
Fossil Fuel Electricity Production: 1.96% Nuclear Electricity Production: 0.00%
Hydro Electricity Production: 98.04% Other Electricity Production: 0.00%
Oil Production: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Production: 0 cu m
Oil Consumption: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Consumption: 2,950 cu m
Oil Exports: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Exports: 0 cu m
Oil Imports: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Imports: 0 cu m
Proven Oil Reserves: 0 barrels Proven Natural Gas Reserves: 0 cu m
External Debt: $2,490,000,000 USD Received in economic aid: $243,000,000 USD
  Donated in economic aid: $0 USD
Agricultural Products: sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, tea, peanuts, rice; water buffalo, pigs, cattle, poultry
Primary Industries: copper, tin, and gypsum mining; timber, electric power, agricultural processing, construction, garments, tourism, cement
Industrial Growth Rate: 13.00 %
Import Amount in USD: $541,000,000 USD - machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, consumer goods
Import Partners: Thailand 66.1%, China 9%, Vietnam 6.7%
Export Amount in USD: $379,000,000 USD - garments, wood products, coffee, electricity, tin
Export Partners: Thailand 29.6%, Vietnam 12%, France 6.1%, Germany 4.6%
GINI Index: 37.00%
Labor Force Number of People: 2,800,000
Labor Force by Occupations: agriculture 80%, industry and services 20%
  Laos Facts |  Lao People's Democratic Republic Information | Laos Statistics  
Radio Broadcast Stations: 22 Number of People with Radios: 730,000
Television Broadcast Stations: 7 Number of People with Televisions: 52,000
Number of People with Mainline Telephones: 90,067 Number of People with Mobile Phones: 520,546
Internet Service Providers: 1,152 Internet Users: 20,900
Internet Country Code: .la Newspapers: 4
Two Letter Country Code: LA Weights and Measures:
Phone Country Code: 856 Electricity Voltage: Volts
Telephone Systems: 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)
  Laos Facts |  Lao People's Democratic Republic Information | Laos Statistics  


Highways: 4,590 km Railways: 0 km
Gas And Oil Pipelines: 540 km Waterways: 4,600 km
Airports: 9 Heliports: 0
Motor Vehicles: 0 per 1,000 people CO2 Emissions: 352,000 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  Per capita CO2 emissions: 0.10 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
Merchant Marines: total: 1 ship (1000 GRT or over) 2,370 GRT/3,110 DWT by type: cargo 1
Ports and Harbors: NA
  Laos Facts |  Lao People's Democratic Republic Information | Laos Statistics  
Population: 6 people type - nationality Birth Rate: 35.49 births per 1,000 people
Population Density: 24.00 people per sq km Death Rate: 11.55 deaths per 1,000 people
Population Growth: 2.39% per year Fertility Rate per Women: 4.68 babies born per woman
Population Male 0-14: 1 Population Female 0-14: 1
Population Male 15-64: 1 Population Female 15-64: 1
Population Male 65+: 89 Population Female 65+: 111
Population 0-14: 41.10% Literacy Rate: 66.40%
Population 15-64: 55.40% Literacy rate of Males: 77.40%
Population 65+: 3.10% Literacy rate of Females: 55.50%
Population that is Male: 52.00 % Population that is Female: 48.00%
Life expectancy at birth in years: 55.49 years Infant mortality rate - baby deaths per 1000 births: 83.31 Babies die per 1,000 births
Life expectancy at birth for Males: 53.45 years Life expectancy at birth for Females: 57.61 years
Rate of AIDS/HIV infection: 0.10% Number of people living with AIDS or HIV: 1,700
Number of people who died of AIDS: 0
Disease Risk:
Net Migration Rate per 1,000 people: 0.00
Nationality: LAO or LAOTIAN
Ethnic Groups: Lao Loum (lowland) 68%, Lao Theung (upland) 22%, Lao Soung (highland) including the Hmong and the Yao 9%, ethnic Vietnamese/Chinese 1% 
Primary Language: Lao
Other Languages: Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages
Primary Religion: Buddhist
Other Religions: Buddhist 60%, animist and other 40% (including various Christian denominations 1.5%)
  Laos Facts |  Lao People's Democratic Republic Information | Laos Statistics  
Branches: Lao People's Army (LPA; includes Riverine Force), Air Force
Manpower Fit to Serve: 15 years
Manpower Available: 3,021,741 People
Manpower Fit to Serve: 1,660,898 People
Amount of Manpower Available each Year: 144,599 People per year
Expenditures: $11,040,000 USD per year
Expenditures as a Percentage of GDP: 0.40
Note: Phrasebase uses a variety of sources when compiling the facts and information presented above. This information is continually updated throughout the year.
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