Poverty in Laos

FAR EAST CORRESPONDENT — Laos is a country in transition that is enjoying robust economic growth as a result of its exposure to global markets, increased foreign investment in the country’s abundant natural resources, and a blossoming tourism industry. At the same time, more than a third of Laos’s population continues to live below the global poverty line of U.S. $1.25 PPP a day in a society where most of the population remains dependent on subsistence agriculture.

Farming still accounts for 67.6% of total employment, compared with 16.9% of the population who is self-employed and only 15.5% who are wage-earners, according to the World Development Report 2013. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 93% of women who participate in the labor force in Laos are employed in agriculture. Agriculture also still accounts for 29% of Laos’ GDP, compared with 19% for industry and 51% for services.

Read more from Johannes Loh in The Diplomat.

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Luke Hunt is a foreign correspondent, author and occasional photographer who has covered much of Asia fr the last 30 years.

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