Laos ranks 138th on UNDP’s Human Development Index


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Laos’ ranking in the United Nation’s Development Programme’s 2015 “Human Development Index”

Note: This is another in a series of posts on “Laos by the numbers.”

Feedback and suggestions are welcome.

Based on the belief that development should be measured in more than economic terms, the Human Development Index (HDI) includes the dimensions of health (life expectancy), knowledge (formal education) and standard of living (GNI per capita).

Since this index was first compiled in 1990, the Lao PDR has risen slowly from 0.397 to the 2015 value of 0.586, which places it in the category of Medium Development (other categories are Very High, High, and Low).

Laos ranks 138th among the 188 countries on the list. In Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea ranks lower at 154th (0.516), Myanmar at 145th (0.556) and Cambodia at 143rd (0.563).  Moving up the list is Timor Leste at 133rd (0.605), the Philippines at 116th (0662), Vietnam at 115th (0.683), Indonesia at 113th (0.689). Thailand at 87th (0.740), Malaysia at 59th (0.789), Brunei at 30th (0.865), and Singapore at 5th (0.925).

However, when inequality is considered, Lao’s index falls to 0.427, making it 106th out of 151 countries on the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI). In Southeast Asia, only Timor Leste is lower at 108th (0.416).

A more complete report on Laos and the HDI can be found on the UNDP website.

Will Donors Remember?

As donors, diplomats and development partners gather for this year’s Roundtable Implementation Meeting in Pakse, will they take time to consider those who were arrested or disappeared in this same city in November 2000 and October 2001, simply for expressing their views?

Will they recall the students who met similar fates earlier in Vientiane in October, 1999?

Will they remember Sombath Somphone or Sompawn Khantisouk, who have been enforcibly disappeared, or their families, who continue to suffer without knowing the fate or alleged wrongdoing of their loved ones? (more…)

Lao Land Protest Villagers Held in Failing Health

Radio Free Asia: 02 November 2017

Two Yeub village residents arrested for cutting down rubber trees are shown in a file photo.

Fourteen villagers in Laos’s Sekong province jailed since July for cutting down rubber trees on farm land claimed by a Vietnamese company are being held incommunicado, with some in failing health, sources say.

Speaking to RFA’s Lao Service, a relative of one of those held said that the villagers have been refused visits from their families since Oct. 2, when he was last able to see them.

Some of the jailed villagers may be suffering from illness or malnutrition, RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. (more…)

Laos tops ASEAN in ODA per capita


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Laos’ ranking in terms of Official Development Assistance per capita

Note: This is another in a series of posts on “Laos by the numbers.”

Feedback and suggestions are welcome.

The Lao PDR ranks 53rd out of 155 countries in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA) per capita, making it the highest aid recipient in Southeast Asia, and the broader ASEAN.

ODA is widely used as a measure of development aid, including of both grants and concessionary loans. A full definition can be found here.

In 2014, ODA to Laos amounted to US$ 70.62 per capita, over one-third higher than any other ASEAN country. ODA received by other ASEAN members (with ranking) include: Cambodia = US$ 52.15 (66th), Vietnam = US$ 46.49 (73rd), Myanmar = US$ 25.83 (100th), Thailand = US$ 5.19 (133rd), Singapore = US$ 4.73 (135th), Malaysia = US$ 0.40 (148th), Indonesia = US$ -1.53 (151th).

ODA has increased sevenfold in the last three decades, from US$ 10.05 in 1984, to US$ 45.16 in 1994, and US$ 47.69 in 2004.

An earlier briefing paper on foreign aid to Laos by Mekong Watch can be found here.