The Government of Laos is one of the few remaining official communist states.
The economy remains hampered by inadequate infrastructure and deficient health and education services to support its workforce and population.
While the government has stated its intention to decentralize control and encourage private enterprise, the transition from a centrally planned and controlled economy to a more market driven one is moving very slowly.
The government recognizes that it needs considerable technical assistance, training and donor and private sector investment if it is to modernize its economy and address the critical health, education and employment generation issues.
With reforms moving relatively quickly in Vietnam, this may encourage Laos to undertake the necessary reforms, including improving its human rights record, to attract outside support.
The continuation of reforms in Vietnam and the increasing availability of Thai broadcasting may create greater incentives for the regime to undertake necessary reforms.