Information About Lao P.D.R
Lao People’s Democratic Republic

General Information

Country Background

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has a land area of 236,800 square kilometers, stretching more than 1,700 km and 400 km from the East to West. The Lao PDR has an Eastern border of 1,957 km with the Kingdom of Thailand of Southern border of 492 km with the Kingdom of Cambodia, and Northern borders of 416 km with the People’s Republic of China and 230 km with the Union of Myanmar.
Although the Lao PDR has no direct access to the sea, it has an abundance of rivers, including a 1,865 km stretch of the Mekong (Nam Kong), defining its border with Myanmar and a major part of the border with Thailand. Major stretches of the Mekong and its tributaries are navigable and provide alluvial deposits for some of the fertile plains. About two thirds of the country is mountainous, with ranges from 200 to the 2,820 m high. The mountains pose difficulties for transportation and communication and complicate development, but together with her rivers they produce vast potential for hydro power.
The Lao PDR is a tropical country, which is affected by monsoon rains from May to September. In Vientiane, the average temperatures range from a minimum of 16.4 C degrees in January to a maximum of 35 C degrees in April.
The population of the Lao PDR in 2000 is 5.2 millions, and is projected to grow at 2.6 % per year. Population density remains one of the lowest in the region, with 19 persons per square kilometer.
Vientiane municipality has a  population of about 503,00 and a modest population density of 28 per square kilometer. The provinces with the biggest number of inhabitants are Savannakhet (692,00) and Champasack (490,000) in the South and Luangprabang (365,000) in the North. Apart for Vientiane, the major urban centers are the cities of Savannakhet and Pakse in the South with population of 109,000 and 55,000, respectively and Luangprabang in the North with 69,000 inhabitants.
Two thirds of population live in rural area of the 17 provinces, including Vientiane municipality, and one special region comprising the Lao PDR. The populations live in 685,230 households with an average size of 6.7 members in 11,935 small villages (ban) located in 129 districts (muong).
The population of the Lao PDR is ethnically diverse. Up to 68 ethnic groups have been identified inhabiting the country, which can be roughly categorized into:
1) The Lao
Loum, who occupy the lowland plains and the Mekong river valley, and constitute some two thirds of the total population.2) The Lao Theung, who occupy the mountain slopes comprising about 22% of the population, and who are thought to have been the first inhabitants of Laos in the pre-historic area,
3) The
Lao Soung, who occupy the high mountain tops over 1,00 m constituting about 10% of the total population, and who carry indigenous linguistic traditions in the remote and highly mobile settlements. Particular emphasis is being placed on finding ways to more fully integrate the ethnic groups into the economic and social life of the country.
National official language is Lao. It consist of 28 vowels and 27 consonants, which Lao literature belong to the Bali and Sanskrit.
The Constitution of the Lao PDR was adopted in August 1991. It provides for the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers. The people, with whom the political power ultimately resides according to the Constitution, exercise such power through an elected National Assembly. The members were directly elected by the people in December 1997, whose five-years term commenced in January 1998. Among the key functions of the National Assembly is the approval of annual state budget and plan. It recently passed important legislation’s which are vital to the country’s transition into a market economy: revised foreign investment law, budget law, domestic investment promotion law, enterprise bankruptcy law, accounting law etc…