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Malimar Foundation - Laos
The Need is Overwhelming Print E-mail
Through this program you can contribute to the education of children. Our efforts will have an immediate and infinite effect on the lives of children, their community, and the world. Many schools in rural Laos suffer from neglect and lack of funds. Some schools were built 20 years ago from materials donated by families of the village. As a result of age and weather, these classrooms have become unsafe for the student population. Parents, students, teachers, and other villages have requested assistance to renovate, equip, or build better schools. According to Lao education authorities, about 13,000 graduates will have no opportunity to pursue higher education because they cannot afford to or there is no more room to accommodate them in any of the higher learning institutions. The Malimar Foundation will assist in this cause. We will be building a brand new Grade School called “Clarke Elementary School”.
   About   Laos 
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 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination 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.


  Geography   Laos 
Location:Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates:18 00 N, 105 00 E
Map references:Southeast Asia
Area:total: 236,800 sq km
land: 230,800 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km
Area - comparative:slightly larger than Utah
Land boundaries:total: 5,083 km
border countries: 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
highest point: Phou Bia 2,817 m
Natural resources:timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones
Land use:arable land: 4.01%
permanent crops: 0.34%
other: 95.65% (2005)
Irrigated land:1,750 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:333.6 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):total: 3 cu km/yr (4%/6%/90%)
per capita: 507 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:floods, droughts
Environment - current issues:unexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; most of the population does not have access to potable water
Environment - international 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
Geography - note:landlocked; most of the country is mountainous and thickly forested; the Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand


  People   Laos 


Population:6,834,942 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 40.8% (male 1,400,126/female 1,386,480)
15-64 years: 56.1% (male 1,898,995/female 1,936,892)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 92,070/female 120,379) (2009 est.)
Median age:total: 19.3 years
male: 19 years
female: 19.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:2.316% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:34.46 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:11.02 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:NA (2009 est.)
Urbanization:urban population: 31% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 5.6% annual rate of change (2005-2010)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 77.82 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 86.94 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 68.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 56.68 years
male: 54.56 years
female: 58.9 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:4.41 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:0.2% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:5,500 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:fewer than 100 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseases:degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008) (2009)
\Nationality:noun: Lao(s) or Laotian(s)
adjective: Lao or Laotian
Ethnic groups:Lao 55%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 8%, other (over 100 minor ethnic groups) 26% (2005 census)
Religions:Buddhist 67%, Christian 1.5%, other and unspecified 31.5% (2005 census)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 68.7%
male: 77%
female: 60.9% (2001 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 8 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
3% of GDP (2006)


  Government   Laos 


Country name:conventional long form: Lao People's Democratic Republic
conventional short form: Laos
local long form: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
local short form: Pathet Lao (unofficial)
Government type:Communist state
Capital:name: Vientiane (Viangchan)
geographic coordinates: 17 58 N, 102 36 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:16 provinces (khoueng, singular and plural) and 1 capital city* (nakhon luang, singular and plural); Attapu, Bokeo, Bolikhamxai, Champasak, Houaphan, Khammouan, Louangnamtha, Louangphrabang, Oudomxai, Phongsali, Salavan, Savannakhet, Viangchan (Vientiane)*, Viangchan, Xaignabouli, Xekong, Xiangkhoang
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; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: President Lt. Gen. CHOUMMALI Saignason (since 8 June 2006); Vice President BOUN-GNANG Volachit (since 8 June 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister BOUASONE Bouphavanh (since 8 June 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers Maj. Gen. ASANG Laoli (since May 2002), Maj. Gen. DOUANGCHAI Phichit (since 8 June 2006), SOMSAVAT Lengsavat (since 26 February 1998), and THONGLOUN Sisoulit (since 27 March 2001)
cabinet: Ministers appointed by president, approved by National Assembly
elections: president and vice president elected by National Assembly for five-year terms; election last held 8 June 2006 (next to be held in 2011); prime minister nominated by president and elected by National Assembly for 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 from a list of candidates selected by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party 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)
Political parties and leaders:Lao People's Revolutionary Party or LPRP [CHOUMMALI Saignason]; other parties proscribed
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
International organization participation:ADB, APT, ARF, ASEAN, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador PHIANE Philakone
chancery: 2222 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-6416
FAX: [1] (202) 332-4923
Diplomatic representation from the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Ravic R. HUSO
embassy: 19 Rue Bartholonie, That Dam, Vientiane
mailing address: American Embassy Vientiane, APO AP 96546
telephone: [856] 21-26-7000
FAX: [856] 21-26-7190
Flag description:three horizontal bands of red (top), blue (double width), and red with a large white disk centered in the blue band


  Economy   Laos 


Economy - overview:The government of Laos, one of the few remaining one-party Communist states, began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. The results, starting from an extremely low base, were striking - growth averaged 6% per year from 1988-2008 except during the short-lived drop caused by the Asian financial crisis that began in 1997. Despite this high growth rate, Laos remains a country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. 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 support from Japan and China. Electricity is available in urban areas and in many rural districts. Subsistence agriculture, dominated by rice, accounts for about 40% of GDP and provides 80% of total employment. The government depends upon aid from international donors for over 80% of its capital investment. The economy has until recently benefited from high foreign investment in hydropower, mining, and construction. The fiscal crisis of late 2008, and the rapid drop in commodity prices - especially copper - has slowed these investments. Several policy changes since 2004 may help spur growth. Laos, which gained Normal Trade Relations status with the US in 2004, is taking steps to join the World Trade Organization. Related trade policy reforms will improve the business environment. On the fiscal side, a value-added tax (VAT) regime, which began with a few large businesses in early 2009, should slowly help streamline the government's inefficient tax system. Economic prospects will improve gradually as the administration continues to simplify investment procedures and as a more competitive banking sector extends credit to small farmers and small entrepreneurs. The government appears committed to raising the country's profile among investors. Foreign donors have praised the Lao government for its efforts to improve the investment regime. The World Bank has declared that Laos' goal of graduating from the UN Development Program's list of least-developed countries by 2020 could be achievable.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$13.99 billion (2008 est.)
$13.01 billion (2007)
$12.1 billion (2006)
GDP (official exchange rate):$5.187 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:7.5% (2008 est.)
7.5% (2007 est.)
8.3% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):$2,100 (2008 est.)
$2,000 (2007 est.)
$1,900 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 39.2%
industry: 34.3%
services: 26.6% (2008 est.)
Labor force:2.1 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture: 80%
industry and services: 20% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate:2.4% (2005 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 28.5% (2002)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:34.6 (2002)
Budget:revenues: $809.6 million
expenditures: $954 million (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):8.5% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:12.67% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:28.5% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:$327.9 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:$717.9 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:$285.8 million (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, tea, peanuts, rice; water buffalo, pigs, cattle, poultry
Industries:copper, tin, gold, and gypsum mining; timber, electric power, agricultural processing, construction, garments, cement, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:11% (2008 est.)
Electricity - production:1.639 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - consumption:1.344 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - exports:547 million kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - imports:367 million kWh (2006 est.)
Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:2,996 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports:0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - imports:3,036 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - proved reserves:0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports:0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports:0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:-$37 million (2008 est.)
Exports:$1.033 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:wood products, coffee, electricity, tin, copper, gold
Exports - partners:Thailand 32.7%, Vietnam 14.3%, China 5.9%, South Korea 4.8% (2007)
Imports:$1.278 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, consumer goods
Imports - partners:Thailand 68.5%, China 9.3%, Vietnam 5.5% (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$765 million (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:$3.179 billion (2006)
Exchange rates:kips (LAK) per US dollar - 8,760.69 (2008 est.), 9,658 (2007), 10,235 (2006), 10,820 (2005), 10,585.5 (2004)


  Communications   Laos 


Telephones - main lines in use:94,800 (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:1.478 million (2007)
Telephone system:general assessment: service to general public is poor but improving; the government relies on a radiotelephone network to communicate with remote areas
domestic: multiple service providers; mobile cellular usage growing rapidly; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership about 25 per 100 persons
international: country code - 856; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 7, FM 14, shortwave 2 (2006)
Television broadcast stations:7 (includes 1 station relaying Vietnam Television from Hanoi) (2006)
Internet country code:.la
Internet hosts:1,015 (2008)
Internet users:100,000 (2007)


  Transportation   Laos 


Airports:42 (2008)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2008)
Airports - with unpaved runways:total 32 1,524 to 2,437 m 1 914 to 1,523 m 9 under 914 m 22 (2008)
Pipelines:refined products 540 km (2008)
Roadways:total: 29,811 km
paved: 4,010 km
unpaved: 25,801 km (2006)
Waterways:4,600 km
note: primarily Mekong and tributaries; 2,900 additional km are intermittently navigable by craft drawing less than 0.5 m (2008)
Merchant marine:total: 1 ship (1000 GRT or over) 2,370 GRT/3,110 DWT
by type: cargo 1 (2008)


  Military   Laos 


Military branches:Lao People's Armed Forces (LPAF): Lao People's Army (LPA; includes Riverine Force), Air Force (2009)
Military service age and obligation:15 years of age for compulsory military service; minimum 18-month conscript service obligation (2006)
Manpower available for military service:males age 16-49: 1,549,774
females age 16-49: 1,570,702 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 16-49: 1,023,205
females age 16-49: 1,085,197 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:male: 75,310
female: 74,498 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures:0.5% of GDP (2006)
Military - note:serving one of the world's least developed countries, the Lao People's Armed Forces (LPAF) is small, poorly funded, and ineffectively resourced; its mission focus is border and internal security, primarily in countering ethnic Hmong insurgent groups; together with the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and the government, the Lao People's Army (LPA) is the third pillar of state machinery, and as such is expected to suppress political and civil unrest and similar national emergencies, but the LPA also has upgraded skills to respond to avian influenza outbreaks; there is no perceived external threat to the state and the LPA maintains strong ties with the neighboring Vietnamese military (2008)


  Transnational Issues   Laos 


Disputes - international: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 islands in the Mekong River; concern among Mekong Commission members that China's construction of dams on the Mekong River will affect water levels

Illicit drugs:    


Trafficking in persons:

estimated opium poppy cultivation in 2008 was 1,900 hectares, about a 73% increase from 2007; estimated potential opium production in 2008 more than tripled to 17 metric tons; unsubstantiated reports of domestic methamphetamine production; growing domestic methamphetamine problem (2007)  

is modern-day slavery, involving victims who are forced, defrauded, or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. The International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN agency charged with addressing labor standards, employment, and social protection issues, estimates that 12.3 million people worldwide are enslaved in forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude at any given time. Human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat, depriving people of their human rights and freedoms, risking global health, promoting social breakdown, inhibiting development by depriving countries of their human capital, and helping fuel the growth of organized crime. In 2000, the US Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), reauthorized in 2003 and 2005, which provides tools for the US to combat trafficking in persons, both domestically and abroad. One of the law's key components is the creation of the US Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which assesses the government response (i.e., the current situation) in some 150 countries with a significant number of victims trafficked across their borders who are recruited, harbored, transported, provided, or obtained for forced labor or sexual exploitation. Countries in the annual report are rated in three tiers, based on government efforts to combat trafficking. The countries identified in this entry are those listed in the 2008 Trafficking in Persons Report as Tier 2 Watch List or Tier 3 based on the following tier rating definitions:

Tier 2 Watch List countries do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but are making significant efforts to do so, and meet one of the following criteria:

1. they display high or significantly increasing number of victims,
2. they have failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons, or,
3. they have committed to take action over the next year.

Tier 3 countries neither satisfy the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking nor demonstrate a significant effort to do so. Countries in this tier are subject to potential non-humanitarian and non-trade sanctions.




Weather for Laos