Central—Local Relations in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic: Historic Overview, Current Situation and Trends

  • Patrick Keuleers
  • Langsy Sibounheuang
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is a landlocked country, bordered by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, the Union of Myanmar and the Kingdom of Thailand. With a GNP per capita estimated around US$350 (1996), it is one of the least developed countries in the South-East Asian region.1 The majority of the population, composed of up to 68 ethnic groups, are subsistence farmers, living in rural areas. Poor infrastructure and communica-tion, due to geographic constraints and climatological conditions, as well as serious education deficits and a weak human resource base, caused by years of independence war and political turbulence, still restrain the economic development of the country. Also, low population density and widely dispersed settlements make broad equitable improvements in social infrastructure very expensive. On the other hand, the country has tremensdous hydropower potential, large forests and mineral resources. If efficiently exploited, these could contribute significantly to economic progress.Table 9.1 shows the main features of Lao PDR.


Central Government Central Ministry Field Office Line Ministry Provincial Authority 
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© Mark Turner 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Keuleers
  • Langsy Sibounheuang

There are no affiliations available

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