Laos aims to be middle-income country by 2020

By Khonesavanh Latsaphao | Source: ANN
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is helping the government to turn Laos into a middle-income country by 2020.

According to the United Nations Department of Economics and Social Welfare, the 2012 Gross National Income (GNI) per capita in Laos was US$913.3, which puts Laos in the low-income country category.

Countries are classified by the World Bank as being low-, middle- or high-income based on their GNI per capita. Low-income countries have a GNI per capita of $1,025 or less; in lower-middle-income countries the figure is $1,026-$4,035; in upper-middle-income countries the figure is $4,036-$12,475; and in high-income countries it is $12,476 or more.

UNDP usually prefers the term “Least Developed Country” (LDC) to low-income, as UNDP is not measuring the capability of the country by just income but also the human development dimension of growth.

This means putting people in the centre of the development process and increases their choices for better access to food, shelter, education and health facilities rather than focusing on how much they earn as an income.

UNDP Communications Officer Eeva Nyyssonen told the Vientiane Times via e-mail on Tuesday that UNDP is helping Laos to become a middle-income country by 2020 by supporting the government to promote equitable and sustainable growth.

These include mainstreaming the Millennium Development Goals, environmental sustainability, and gender and pro-poor planning in the national development process, such as the five-year National Socio-Economic Development Plan and subsequent annual plans.

In addition, in light of the long term vision for graduation from LDC status by 2020, UNDP is assisting the Ministry of Planning and Investment, specifically the National Economic Research Institute, to create an informed path of policy decision-making and is helping staff to undertake analysis of LDC criteria.

In May 2012, the first national wor kshop on LDC graduation was held with support from UNDP. The aim was to enhance government understanding of the graduation criteria and the potential implications of graduation on the country’s future sustainability.

As a result of the workshop, the government revised its 2020 vision to reflect the current circumstances and to prepare for necessary policy actions to ensure a smooth transition.