Laos' new President, General Choummaly Sayasone, says the just-ended 8th Congress of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party unanimously approved the party's political report, which sets two ambitious goals for national development.
One goal is to lift the country out of the under-developed status by the year 2020. The other is to basically eradicate poverty throughout the country by the year 2010, by maintaining an annual economic growth rate of 7.5%, which translates into an average per capita income of US$800 by 2010.
It is estimated that currently 28% of Laos' population of 5.6 millions live in adverse poverty with an income of less than $1 a day, and about 2/3 survive with less than $2 a day.
During implementation of its previous five-year national development plan, 2001-2005, Laos was able to lift only 12% of its population out of poverty.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details.