Laos, one of the world's few remaining communist states, is one of east Asia's poorest countries. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 it has struggled to find its position within a changing political and economic landscape.
Communist forces overthrew the monarchy in 1975, heralding years of isolation. Laos began opening up to the world in the 1990s, but despite tentative reforms, it remains poor and dependent on international donations.
The government has implemented gradual economic and business reforms since 2005 to somewhat liberalize its domestic markets. In 2011, it opened a stock market in Vientiane as part of a tentative move towards capitalism.
Economic growth since the 1990s has reduced poverty levels significantly, but Laos still relies heavily on foreign aid and investment, especially from Japan, China and Vietnam.
The Asian currency crisis of 1997 caused the national currency, the kip, to lose more than nine-tenths of its value against the US dollar.
Laos is a landlocked, mountainous country, widely covered by largely unspoilt tropical forest. Less than 5% of the land is suitable for subsistence agriculture, which nevertheless provides around 80% of employment.
The main crop is rice, which is grown on the fertile floodplain of the Mekong River. Vegetables, fruit, spices and cotton are also grown. Part of the region's heroin-producing "Golden Triangle", Laos has all but stamped out opium production.
Outside the capital, many people live without electricity or access to basic facilities.
But Laos is banking on the anticipated returns from the controversial $1.3bn Nam Theun 2 dam scheme, which was inaugurated in 2010 and is intended to generate electricity for export to Thailand, to boost its economy and infrastructure. A number of other big hydropower projects are planned.
A further significant upgrade to Laos' infrastructure was expected from the construction of the first high-speed rail line between China and Laos. Work was due to start in 2011, but the project has faced major delays.
Public dissent in Laos is dealt with harshly by the authorities, and the country's human rights record has come under scrutiny.
Laos denies accusations of abuses by the military against the ethnic minority Hmong. Hmong groups have been fighting a low-level rebellion against the communist regime since 1975.
Head of State : President Choummaly Sayasone
Head of Government : Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong
Capital : Vientiane
Language : Lao
Currency : Kip
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR Website: www.mofa.gov.la
Sebuah kelompok di Laos memakai beberapa cara inovatif untuk menyumbangkan buku dan mempromosikan literasi di seantero negeri. Laos negara berkembang di Asia Tenggara dengan mayoritas penduduk pedesaan. Sebagai penerbit, Abang Tikus (Big Brother Mouse-Red) telah menerbitkan lebih dari 300 buku anak-anak sejak 2006, di samping itu juga mengadakan pesta buku pedesaan, workshop pelatihan guru, dan sesi ...
Pertumbuhan ekonomi, perkembangan social budaya, serta perdamaian dan stabilitas dikawasan dalam wadah ASEAN. Berdasarkan Hal tersebut maka dibentuklah Perhimpunan Bangsa-bangsa Asia Tenggara (Perbara) atau Dengan Kata lain Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) yang merupakan sebuah organisasi geopolitik dan ekonomi dari negara-negara di kawasan Asia Tenggara.
MEA adalah bentuk integrasi ekonomi ASEAN dalam artian adanya system perdagaangan bebas antara Negara-negara asean. Indonesia dan sembilan negara anggota ASEAN lainnya telah menyepakati perjanjian Masyarakat Ekonomi ASEAN (MEA) atau ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).