Laos seen on track to become upper-middle-income country by 2030

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Laos will transform into a high-middle-income country from its current lower-middle-income position by 2030 and also leave behind its status as least developed country on the way, Savankhone Razmountry, vice minister of information, culture and tourism, said at a conference in Vientiane on August 27.

This change should be made available through strengthening international economic partnerships, including the promotion of tourism, Razmountry said.

His announcement provides an update  on the vision of former Laos’ Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong revealed in 2016 that the ruling Communist party of the country has set a strategy for Laos to be released from the status of a least developed country and be recognised as a developing country by 2020. Then, by 2030, Laos would become a high middle-income country, the prime minister noted last year. 

However, Razmountry said that the Lao government’s goal of leaving the least developed country status is now “during the period from 2025 to 2030.”

The list of currently 47 countries in the least developed category – which, in Southeast Asia, also includes Cambodia, Myanmar and East Timor – is reviewed every three years by the United Nations Economic and Social Council based on three criteria: gross national income (GNI) per capita, human assets, and economic vulnerability. According to data from the 2015 triennial review, the GNI per capita of Laos was $1,232, which is already close to the graduation threshold of $1,242.

As for the middle-income ceilings, lower middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita between $1,026 and $4,035 and upper middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita between $4,036 and $12,475, thus Laos will have to push this figure significantly in the years up to 2030. The country was upgraded by the World Bank from low-income status to a lower-middle income economy in 2011.

Razmountry pointed out that for Laos, tourism promotion was “an important engine” to ensure economic development. The government plans to increase the number of foreign visitors from the current level of about four million annually to up to seven million in the coming years.” To that end, the vice minister also called for more foreign investment to build infrastructure such as roads, international airports and hotels in the landlocked nation and develop relevant human resources through educational cooperation with foreign countries.

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Laos will transform into a high-middle-income country from its current lower-middle-income position by 2030 and also leave behind its status as least developed country on the way, Savankhone Razmountry, vice minister of information, culture and tourism, said at a conference in Vientiane on August 27. This change should be made available through strengthening international economic partnerships, including the promotion of tourism, Razmountry said. His announcement provides an update  on the vision of former Laos’ Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong revealed in 2016 that the ruling Communist party of the country has set a strategy for Laos to be released from the...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Laos will transform into a high-middle-income country from its current lower-middle-income position by 2030 and also leave behind its status as least developed country on the way, Savankhone Razmountry, vice minister of information, culture and tourism, said at a conference in Vientiane on August 27.

This change should be made available through strengthening international economic partnerships, including the promotion of tourism, Razmountry said.

His announcement provides an update  on the vision of former Laos’ Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong revealed in 2016 that the ruling Communist party of the country has set a strategy for Laos to be released from the status of a least developed country and be recognised as a developing country by 2020. Then, by 2030, Laos would become a high middle-income country, the prime minister noted last year. 

However, Razmountry said that the Lao government’s goal of leaving the least developed country status is now “during the period from 2025 to 2030.”

The list of currently 47 countries in the least developed category – which, in Southeast Asia, also includes Cambodia, Myanmar and East Timor – is reviewed every three years by the United Nations Economic and Social Council based on three criteria: gross national income (GNI) per capita, human assets, and economic vulnerability. According to data from the 2015 triennial review, the GNI per capita of Laos was $1,232, which is already close to the graduation threshold of $1,242.

As for the middle-income ceilings, lower middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita between $1,026 and $4,035 and upper middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita between $4,036 and $12,475, thus Laos will have to push this figure significantly in the years up to 2030. The country was upgraded by the World Bank from low-income status to a lower-middle income economy in 2011.

Razmountry pointed out that for Laos, tourism promotion was “an important engine” to ensure economic development. The government plans to increase the number of foreign visitors from the current level of about four million annually to up to seven million in the coming years.” To that end, the vice minister also called for more foreign investment to build infrastructure such as roads, international airports and hotels in the landlocked nation and develop relevant human resources through educational cooperation with foreign countries.

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