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Lao PDR - Systematic country diagnostic : summary (English)

In recent years, Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) has made significant development advances. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged 7.8 percent per year over the past decade, making Lao PDR the 13th fastest-growing economy globally. Incomes rose, poverty declined, and access to some basic services, including education, health, and infrastructure, improved considerably. Growth was driven by natural resources with limited job creation. Agriculture employed most of the workforce, and productivity was stagnant. Loss of revenue and weak public financial management also prevented sharing benefits of growth. As a result, poverty reduction was slower compared to peers. Malnutrition continues to be high, and the risk of falling into poverty is a reality for a large part of the population. Growing public debt burden, systemic risks in the financial sector, and low reserve buffers may test macroeconomic stability which can ignite inflation, lower living standards, and hurt public services delivery. Continued environmental degradation and climate change will also pose challenges. More and better education can improve agriculture and prepare people for the transition toward non-farm jobs. Addressing risks in the fiscal and financial sectors will ensure stability of growth and public services.

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Lao PDR - Systematic country diagnostic : summary (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/702571491990329308/Lao-PDR-Systematic-country-diagnostic-summary