The World Bank representative in Laos says the country is taking the right direction in its economic development, as evidenced by growing foreign investment and trade. It also shows that Laos is moving farther away from the socialist-style economy.
The economic progress has improved the lives of thousands of Laotians, as reflected in the declining rate of poverty which went down from 47% of the population in 1995 to 31% in 2005 to currently 26%.
Meanwhile, Lao authorities say they expect the economy to expand at the rate of about 8% this year, after a growth of 7.9% in the first six month, which translates into a per capita income of about 7.4 million kips per year or roughly $810 at the current exhange rate which is about 8700 kips to a dollar.
In another development, the Lao Statistics Bureau says inflation has risen continuously in the first five months of this year, reaching over 10% in May, which is the first time in many years that the inflation has reach a double digit rate. Last month's 11.2% inflation rate more than doubles the rate for the same month last year, which was 4.5%. Lao officials say they fear inflation will continue to rise because of increasing fuel prices in world markets.
Listen to our report for more details in Laos.