Country: LAOSlaos

Capital: Vientiane

Geographic Coordinates: 18 00 N, 105 00 E

Population: 6,993,767 (July 2010 est.)

Main Religion: Buddhism

Language: Lao, French (for diplomatic purposes)

Government Type: Communist state

Chief of State: President Lt. Gen. CHOUMMALI Saignaso; Head of Government: Prime Minister BOUASONE Bouphavanh 

Main Industries: copper, tin, gold, and gypsum mining; timber, electric power, agricultural processing, construction, garments, tourism, cement

GDP in US Dollars (per capita):  $2,100 (2009 est.)

Currency Code: Kip (LAK)

Life Expectancy: 63 years (men), 66 years (women) (UN)

Environment - current issues: Unexploded ordnance; Deforestation; Soil erosion; most of the population does not have access to potable water

Issues facing Women and Children:

  • Childhood diarrhea is still the second highest cause of child mortality in the country.
  • Trafficking, sexual exploitation, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, dangers from unexploded ordnance (UXO) and disability; prevention and early interventions at family and community levels; the promotion of more responsive and inclusive basic social services, rescue, recovery and reintegration; and improving justice for children.

Land Mine Ban Signatory: N

Local Media: Press: Vientiane Times, Le Renovateur, Vientiane Mai; Radio and TV: Lao National TV (TVNL), Laos Television 3, Lao National Radio

Interesting Fact: One of the world's poorest nations, Laos has little industry and relies on foreign aid; hopes are pinned on a hydroelectric project. Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia are building a 27-hole golf course on the border between the three countries, with nine holes in each country. Much of the area proposed for the golf course is currently a minefield.

Famous for: Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge, Luang Prabang and Vat Phou (World Heritage Sites), laap (meat/fish dish), Vientiane


Official Tourism Website: