Laos. According to Countryaah.com, Laos population in 2020 is estimated at 7,275,571. Defense Minister Douangchay Phichit, who was also Deputy Prime Minister, was among the 17 people who died in an air crash in May. Since 2001 he has been a member of the ruling Communist Party’s Politburo, the most important decision-making body. Security Minister Thongbanh Sengaphone also perished.
In October, a decree came into force prohibiting the spread of criticism on the Internet against the government or the Communist Party, as well as disseminating “false” information. Only 8% of the country’s approximately 7 million residents are estimated to have access to the Internet, but use among young people and urban dwellers is increasing.
No progress was reported in clarifying what happened to agricultural expert Sombath Somphone, which disappeared in December 2012. He was one of the critics of dam projects on the Mekong River that Laos has built. Other critics were neighboring countries, downstream fishermen and environmental organizations.
In January 2016, the construction of the Don Sahong dam in southern Laos began, a few kilometers from the Cambodia border. The dam will have a capacity of 260MW which is expected to be exported to Thailand and Cambodia. It is expected to be completed in 2019. According to topb2bwebsites, the project triggered a number of protests, both internally in Laos and from Vietnam and Cambodia, as the project will potentially affect the lives of millions of people.
The 10th party congress in January 2016 decided to appoint Thongloun Sisoulith as new prime minister and Bounnhang Vorachith as new secretary general and president. Both took over their records in April. Vorachith was formerly Vice President and Sisoulith was former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. According to Abbreviation Finder, LA stands for Laos in English. Click to see other meanings of this 2-letter acronym.
Two political prisoners were released in March after serving 17 years in prison. Together with 28 others, in 1999 they conducted a peaceful demonstration of economic, political and social change in the country. 3 out of 30 received long prison sentences and one of them died in prison.
In 2016, China was the largest foreign investor in Laos. Since 1989, it had invested $ 5.4 billion. US§ in the country. In 2nd and 3rd place were Thailand and Vietnam with 4.5 and US $ 3.1 billion.
Laos, ethnically the most complex country in Indochina, takes its name from its major group, the Lao, of Thai descent, who descended to Laos from China in the 10th century. Of Chinese origin are also some tribes that speak Burmese-Tibetan languages, infiltrated in the country during the 19th century: the most representative are the Meo and the Yao, distributed in the north, in the altitude range between 1000 and 1400 m.. There is also a notable group that speak Mon-Khmer languages; the Kha aborigines (settled in the Laos perhaps from the Neolithic period) live on the wooded heights.
The average population density is considerably lower than that of the other Indochinese countries, even if the annual demographic increase is quite marked. The distribution of the population is very unequal: the lowest densities are found in northern Laos (2-3 residents per km 2), while the largest densities are found along the Mekong basin, reaching 50 residents. per km 2. The population lives mainly (about 80%) in rural villages with a traditional character, located along a watercourse or, in any case, a communication route. In addition to the capital, Vientiane Notable cities are Louangphrabang, Savannakhet and Pakse, all lined up along the Mekong valley. Most of the population practices Buddhism, but there are also minorities of Christians and animists in the northern regions.
After the partial abandonment of the socialist economy, which occurred in the late 1980s, a series of reforms favored the privatization of numerous sectors, thus encouraging foreign investments, especially from European countries, China and Thailand. Despite a high rate of GDP growth, Laos is like one of the least developed states in the Indochinese region; in fact, according to estimates by international organizations, half of its residents still live below the poverty line.
Agriculture continues to be the cornerstone of the Lao economy. The traditional crop par excellence is that of rice, practiced on almost 60% of agricultural land; commercial crops such as coffee, vegetables, tobacco and sesame are on the rise. Opium poppy is also widespread. Breeding mainly involves pigs and buffaloes. The exploitation of precious wood (teak and mahogany) is an important resource, even if indiscriminate cutting is dangerously depleting the forests. The production of electricity, thanks to the numerous and large barriers on waterways (in particular, Nam Ngun and Se Set), has had considerable development: the Laos has an installed power of 691,000 kW (2005) and a production of 1715 million kWh, of which 1664 million of water. Mineral resources are varied, Dong Hen). Apart from a few plants for the processing of tobacco, cement and timber, the industry is underdeveloped and aimed only at the internal market; the only sector with any development prospects is the textile sector, whose products are destined for export.
The main communications take place by water (the Mekong remains the vital artery of the country); Laos has no railways and has a poor road network; on the other hand, aerial communications are being developed. In 2004 a second bridge over the Mekong was inaugurated (after the one in 1994) connecting the road networks of Laos and Thailand.
The trade balance is negative: mainly food, oil and machinery are imported; electricity, coffee, precious wood, tin and leather are exported. Main trading partners are Thailand, Vietnam and China.