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Laos vs. Cambodia

Introduction

LaosCambodia
BackgroundModern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th century under King FA NGUM. For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century, when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the communist Pathet Lao took control of the government, ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. A gradual, limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began in 1988. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997 and the WTO in 2013.
Most Cambodians consider themselves to be Khmers, descendants of the Angkor Empire that extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries. Attacks by the Thai and Cham (from present-day Vietnam) weakened the empire, ushering in a long period of decline. The king placed the country under French protection in 1863, and it became part of French Indochina in 1887. Following Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia gained full independence from France in 1953. In April 1975, after a seven-year struggle, communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh and evacuated all cities and towns. At least 1.5 million Cambodians died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime under POL POT. A December 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside, began a 10-year Vietnamese occupation, and touched off almost 13 years of civil war.
The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a cease-fire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy under a coalition government. Factional fighting in 1997 ended the first coalition government, but a second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability. The remaining elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered in early 1999. Some of the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders have been tried or are awaiting trial for crimes against humanity by a hybrid UN-Cambodian tribunal supported by international assistance. Elections in July 2003 were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed. In October 2004, King Norodom SIHANOUK abdicated the throne and his son, Prince Norodom SIHAMONI, was selected to succeed him. The most recent local (Commune Council) elections were held in Cambodia in 2012, with little of the preelection violence that preceded prior elections. National elections in July 2013 were disputed, with the opposition - the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) - boycotting the National Assembly. The political impasse was ended nearly a year later, with the CNRP agreeing to enter parliament in exchange for ruling party commitments to electoral and legislative reforms.

Geography

LaosCambodia
LocationSoutheastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos
Geographic coordinates18 00 N, 105 00 E
13 00 N, 105 00 E
Map referencesSoutheast Asia
Southeast Asia
Areatotal: 236,800 sq km
land: 230,800 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km
total: 181,035 sq km
land: 176,515 sq km
water: 4,520 sq km
Area - comparativeabout twice the size of Pennsylvania; slightly larger than Utah
one and a half times the size of Pennsylvania; slightly smaller than Oklahoma
Land boundariestotal: 5,274 km
border countries (5): Burma 238 km, Cambodia 555 km, China 475 km, Thailand 1,845 km, Vietnam 2,161 km
total: 2,530 km
border countries (3): Laos 555 km, Thailand 817 km, Vietnam 1,158 km
Coastline0 km (landlocked)
443 km
Maritime claimsnone (landlocked)
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climatetropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)
tropical; rainy, monsoon season (May to November); dry season (December to April); little seasonal temperature variation
Terrainmostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus
mostly low, flat plains; mountains in southwest and north
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 710 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Mekong River 70 m
highest point: Phu Bia 2,817 m
mean elevation: 126 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Phnum Aoral 1,810 m
Natural resourcestimber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones
oil and gas, timber, gemstones, iron ore, manganese, phosphates, hydropower potential, arable land
Land useagricultural land: 10.6%
arable land 6.2%; permanent crops 0.7%; permanent pasture 3.7%
forest: 67.9%
other: 21.5% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 32.1%
arable land 22.7%; permanent crops 0.9%; permanent pasture 8.5%
forest: 56.5%
other: 11.4% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land3,100 sq km (2012)
3,540 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsfloods, droughts
monsoonal rains (June to November); flooding; occasional droughts
Environment - current issuesunexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; most of the population does not have access to potable water
illegal logging activities throughout the country and strip mining for gems in the western region along the border with Thailand have resulted in habitat loss and declining biodiversity (in particular, destruction of mangrove swamps threatens natural fisheries); soil erosion; in rural areas, most of the population does not have access to potable water; declining fish stocks because of illegal fishing and overfishing
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - notelandlocked; most of the country is mountainous and thickly forested; the Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand
a land of paddies and forests dominated by the Mekong River and Tonle Sap (Southeast Asia's largest freshwater lake)
Population distributionmost densely populated area is in and around the capital city of Vientiane; large communities are primarily found along the Mekong River along the southwestern border; overall density is considered one of the lowest in Southeast Asia
population concentrated in the southeast, particularly in and around the capital of Phnom Penh; further distribution is linked closely to the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers

Demographics

LaosCambodia
Population7,019,073 (July 2016 est.)
15,957,223
note: estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 33.4% (male 1,184,344/female 1,159,731)
15-24 years: 21.29% (male 742,073/female 751,983)
25-54 years: 36.1% (male 1,250,108/female 1,283,834)
55-64 years: 5.36% (male 184,183/female 192,298)
65 years and over: 3.85% (male 122,485/female 148,034) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 31.24% (male 2,515,435/female 2,468,855)
15-24 years: 19.02% (male 1,501,070/female 1,533,500)
25-54 years: 40.18% (male 3,139,851/female 3,271,077)
55-64 years: 5.43% (male 342,063/female 524,114)
65 years and over: 4.14% (male 248,454/female 412,804) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 22.7 years
male: 22.4 years
female: 23 years (2016 est.)
total: 24.9 years
male: 24.2 years
female: 25.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.53% (2016 est.)
1.56% (2016 est.)
Birth rate23.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
23.4 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate7.5 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
7.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-1.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.65 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 51.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 56.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 45.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 48.7 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 55.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 41.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 64.3 years
male: 62.2 years
female: 66.4 years (2016 est.)
total population: 64.5 years
male: 62 years
female: 67.1 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.76 children born/woman (2016 est.)
2.56 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.26% (2014 est.)
0.63% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Lao(s) or Laotian(s)
adjective: Lao or Laotian
noun: Cambodian(s)
adjective: Cambodian
Ethnic groupsLao 53.2%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 9.2%, Phouthay 3.4%, Tai 3.1%, Makong 2.5%, Katong 2.2%, Lue 2%, Akha 1.8%, other 11.6%
note: the Laos Government officially recognizes 49 ethnic groups, but the total number of ethnic groups is estimated to be well over 200 (2015 est.)
Khmer 97.6%, Cham 1.2%, Chinese 0.1%, Vietnamese 0.1%, other 0.9% (2013 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS11,100 (2014 est.)
74,100 (2015 est.)
ReligionsBuddhist 64.7%, Christian 1.7%, none 31.4%, other/not stated 2.1% (2015 est.)
Buddhist (official) 96.9%, Muslim 1.9%, Christian 0.4%, other 0.8% (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths500 (2014 est.)
2,000 (2015 est.)
LanguagesLao (official), French, English, various ethnic languages
Khmer (official) 96.3%, other 3.7% (2008 est.)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 79.9%
male: 87.1%
female: 72.8% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 77.2%
male: 84.5%
female: 70.5% (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2016)
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria (2016)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2015)
total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2008)
Education expenditures3.3% of GDP (2014)
1.9% of GDP (2014)
Urbanizationurban population: 38.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 4.93% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 20.7% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.65% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 85.6% of population
rural: 69.4% of population
total: 75.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 14.4% of population
rural: 30.6% of population
total: 24.3% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 69.1% of population
total: 75.5% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 30.9% of population
total: 24.5% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 94.5% of population
rural: 56% of population
total: 70.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 5.5% of population
rural: 44% of population
total: 29.1% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 88.1% of population
rural: 30.5% of population
total: 42.4% of population
unimproved:
urban: 11.9% of population
rural: 69.5% of population
total: 57.6% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationVIENTIANE (capital) 997,000 (2015)
PHNOM PENH (capital) 1.731 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate197 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
161 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight26.5% (2012)
23.9% (2014)
Health expenditures1.9% of GDP (2014)
5.7% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.18 physicians/1,000 population (2012)
0.17 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
Hospital bed density1.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
0.7 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate3% (2014)
2.9% (2014)
Contraceptive prevalence rate49.8% (2011/12)
56.3% (2014)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 62.8
youth dependency ratio: 56.6
elderly dependency ratio: 6.2
potential support ratio: 16.1 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 55.6
youth dependency ratio: 49.2
elderly dependency ratio: 6.4
potential support ratio: 15.6 (2015 est.)

Government

LaosCambodia
Country name"conventional long form: Lao People's Democratic Republic
conventional short form: Laos
local long form: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
local short form: Mueang Lao (unofficial)
etymology: name means ""Land of the Lao [people]""
"
conventional long form: Kingdom of Cambodia
conventional short form: Cambodia
local long form: Preahreacheanachakr Kampuchea (phonetic transliteration)
local short form: Kampuchea
former: Khmer Republic, Democratic Kampuchea, People's Republic of Kampuchea, State of Cambodia
etymology: the English name Cambodia is an anglicization of the French Cambodge, which is the French transliteration of the native name Kampuchea
Government typecommunist state
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Capitalname: Vientiane (Viangchan)
geographic coordinates: 17 58 N, 102 36 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Phnom Penh
geographic coordinates: 11 33 N, 104 55 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions17 provinces (khoueng, singular and plural) and 1 capital city* (nakhon luang, singular and plural); Attapu, Bokeo, Bolikhamxai, Champasak, Houaphan, Khammouan, Louangnamtha, Louangphabang, Oudomxai, Phongsali, Salavan, Savannakhet, Viangchan (Vientiane)*, Viangchan, Xaignabouli, Xaisomboun, Xekong, Xiangkhouang
24 provinces (khett, singular and plural) and 1 municipality (krong, singular and plural)
provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Kampot, Kandal, Kep, Koh Kong, Kratie, Mondolkiri, Oddar Meanchey, Pailin, Preah Vihear, Prey Veng, Pursat, Ratanakiri, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Stung Treng, Svay Rieng, Takeo, Tbong Khmum
municipalities: Phnom Penh (Phnum Penh)
Independence19 July 1949 (from France)
9 November 1953 (from France)
National holidayRepublic Day (National Day), 2 December (1975)
Independence Day, 9 November (1953)
Constitutionprevious 1947 (preindependence); latest promulgated 13-15 August 1991; amended 2003, 2015 (2016)
previous 1947; latest promulgated 21 September 1993; amended 1999, 2008, 2014 (2016)
Legal systemcivil law system similar in form to the French system
civil law system (influenced by the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia) customary law, Communist legal theory, and common law
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President BOUNNYANG Vorachit (since 20 April 2016); Vice President PHANKHAM Viphavan (since 20 April 2016)
head of government: Prime Minister THONGLOUN Sisoulit (since 20 April 2016); Deputy Prime Ministers BOUNTHONG Chitmani, SONXAI Siphandon, SOMDI Douangdi (since 20 April 2016)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president, approved by the National Assembly
elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the National Assembly for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 20 April 2016 (next to be held in 2021); prime minister nominated by the president, elected by the National Assembly for 5-year term
election results: BOUNNYANG Vorachit (LPRP) elected president; PHANKHAM Viphavan (LPRP) elected vice president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA; THONGLOUN Sisoulit (LPRP) elected prime minister; percent of National Assembly vote - NA
chief of state: King Norodom SIHAMONI (since 29 October 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister HUN SEN (since 14 January 1985); Permanent Deputy Prime Minister MEN SAM AN (since 25 September 2008); Deputy Prime Ministers SAR KHENG (since 3 February 1992), TEA BANH, Gen., HOR NAMHONG, NHEK BUNCHHAY (all since 16 July 2004), BIN CHHIN (since 5 September 2007), KEAT CHHON, YIM CHHAI LY (since 24 September 2008), KE KIMYAN (since 12 March 2009)
cabinet: Council of Ministers named by the prime minister and appointed by the monarch
elections/appointments: monarch chosen by the 9-member, Royal Council of the Throne from among all eligible males of royal descent; following legislative elections, a member of the majority party or majority coalition named prime minister by the Chairman of the National Assembly and appointed by the monarch
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral National Assembly or Sapha Heng Xat (132 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote from candidate lists provided by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 20 April 2016 (next to be held in 2021)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LPRP 128, independent 4
description: bicameral Parliament of Cambodia consists of the Senate (61 seats; 57 indirectly elected by parliamentarians and commune councils, 2 indirectly elected by the National Assembly, and 2 appointed by the monarch; members serve 6-year terms) and the National Assembly (123 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
note: two seats will be added to the National Assembly in 2018, for a total of 125
elections: Senate - last held on 4 February 2012 (next to be held in 2018); National Assembly - last held on 28 July 2013 (next to be held in July 2018)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - CPP 77.8%, SRP 22.2%; seats by party - CPP 46, SRP 11; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - CPP 48.8%, CNRP 44.5%, other 6.7%; seats by party - CPP 68, CNRP 55
Judicial branchhighest court(s): People's Supreme Court (consists of the court president and organized into criminal, civil, administrative, commercial, family, and juvenile chambers, each with a vice president and several judges)
judge selection and term of office: president of People's Supreme Court appointed by National Assembly on recommendation of the president of the republic for a 5-year term; vice presidents of People's Supreme Court appointed by the president of the republic on recommendation of the National Assembly; appointment of chamber judges NA; tenure of court vice-presidents and chamber judges NA
subordinate courts: appellate courts; provincial, municipal, district, and military courts
highest court(s): Supreme Council (organized into 5- and 9-judge panels and includes a court chief and deputy chief); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members); note - in 1997, the Cambodian Government requested UN assistance in establishing trials to prosecute former Khmer Rouge senior leaders for crimes against humanity committed during the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime; the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia (also called the Khmer Rouge Tribunal) were established and began hearings for the first case in 2009; court proceeding were ongoing in 2016
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Constitutional Council judge candidates recommended by the Supreme Council of Magistracy, a 17-member body chaired by the monarch and includes other high-level judicial officers; judges of both courts appointed by the monarch; Supreme Court judges appointed for life; Constitutional Council judges appointed for 9-year terms with one-third of the court renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: Appellate Court; provincial and municipal courts; Military Court
Political parties and leadersLao People's Revolutionary Party or LPRP [BOUNNYANG Vorachit]
note: other parties proscribed
Cambodian National Rescue Party or CNRP [KHEM SOKHA] (a July 2012 merger between the Sam Rangsi Party or SRP and the former Human Rights Party or HRP [KHEM SOKHA, also spelled KEM SOKHA])
Cambodian People's Party or CPP [HUN SEN]
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
Partnership for Transparency Fund or PTF (anti-corruption organization)
Students Movement for Democracy
The Committee for Free and Fair Elections or Comfrel
other: human rights organizations; labor unions; youth groups
International organization participationADB, ARF, ASEAN, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
ADB, ARF, ASEAN, CICA, CICA (observer), EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MINUSMA, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador MAI Xaignavong (since 3 August 2015)
chancery: 2222 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-6416
FAX: [1] (202) 332-4923
consulate(s): New York
chief of mission: Ambassador CHUM BUN RONG (since 3 August 2015)
chancery: 4530 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone: [1] (202) 726-7742
FAX: [1] (202) 726-8381
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Rena BITTER (since 2 November 2016)
embassy: Thadeua Road, Kilometer 9, Ban Somvang Tai, Hatsayfong District, Vientiane
mailing address: American Embassy Vientiane, Unit 46222, APO AP 96546-6222
telephone: [856] 21-48-7000
FAX: [856] 21-48-7190
chief of mission: Ambassador William A. HEIDT (since 2 December 2015)
embassy:
mailing address: Unit 8166, Box P, APO AP 96546
telephone: [855] (23) 728-000
FAX: [855] (23) 728-600
Flag descriptionthree horizontal bands of red (top), blue (double width), and red with a large white disk centered in the blue band; the red bands recall the blood shed for liberation; the blue band represents the Mekong River and prosperity; the white disk symbolizes the full moon against the Mekong River, but also signifies the unity of the people under the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, as well as the country's bright future
three horizontal bands of blue (top), red (double width), and blue with a white, three-towered temple representing Angkor Wat outlined in black in the center of the red band; red and blue are traditional Cambodian colors
note: only national flag to incorporate an actual building into its design
National anthem"name: ""Pheng Xat Lao"" (Hymn of the Lao People)
lyrics/music: SISANA Sisane/THONGDY Sounthonevichit
note: music adopted 1945, lyrics adopted 1975; the anthem's lyrics were changed following the 1975 Communist revolution that overthrew the monarchy
"
"name: ""Nokoreach"" (Royal Kingdom)
lyrics/music: CHUON NAT/F. PERRUCHOT and J. JEKYLL
note: adopted 1941, restored 1993; the anthem, based on a Cambodian folk tune, was restored after the defeat of the Communist regime
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)elephant; national colors: red, white, blue
Angkor Wat temple, kouprey (wild ox); national colors: red, blue
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Laos
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Cambodia
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years

Economy

LaosCambodia
Economy - overviewThe government of Laos, one of the few remaining one-party communist states, began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. Economic growth averaged more than 6% per year from 1988-2008, and Laos' growth has more recently been amongst the fastest in Asia, averaging nearly 8% per year for most of the last decade, but has declined over the past year and is expected to be around 6.8% in 2017, according to the IMF.

Nevertheless, Laos remains a country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. It has a basic, but improving, road system, and limited external and internal land-line telecommunications. Electricity is available to 83% of the population. Agriculture, dominated by rice cultivation in lowland areas, accounts for about 25% of GDP and 73% of total employment. Recently, the country has faced a persistent current account deficit, falling foreign currency reserves, and growing public debt, as slow recovery of the global economy, especially that of China, has driven down the prices of its mineral exports.

Laos' economy is heavily dependent on capital-intensive natural resource exports. The economy has benefited from high-profile foreign direct investment in hydropower dams along the Mekong River, copper and gold mining, logging, and construction, although some projects in these industries have drawn criticism for their environmental impacts.

Laos gained Normal Trade Relations status with the US in 2004 and applied for Generalized System of Preferences trade benefits in 2013 after being admitted to the World Trade Organization earlier in the year. Laos held the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2016. Laos is in the process of implementing a value-added tax system. The government appears committed to raising the country's profile among foreign investors and has developed special economic zones replete with generous tax incentives, but a limited labor pool, a small domestic market, and corruption remain impediments to investment. Laos also has ongoing problems with the business environment, including onerous registration requirements, a gap between legislation and implementation, and unclear or conflicting regulations.
Cambodia has experienced strong economic growth over the last decade; GDP grew at an average annual rate of over 8% between 2000 and 2010 and at least 7% since 2011. The tourism, garment, construction and real estate, and agriculture sectors accounted for the bulk of growth. Around 600,000 people, the majority of whom are women, are employed in the garment and footwear sector. An additional 500,000 Cambodians are employed in the tourism sector, and a further 50,000 people in construction. Tourism has continued to grow rapidly with foreign arrivals exceeding 2 million per year since 2007 and reaching around 4.5 million visitors in 2014. Mining also is attracting some investor interest and the government has touted opportunities for mining bauxite, gold, iron and gems.

Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Asia and long-term economic development remains a daunting challenge, inhibited by endemic corruption, limited human resources, high income inequality, and poor job prospects. As of 2012, approximately 2.66 million people live on less than $1.20 per day, and 37% of Cambodian children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. More than 50% of the population is less than 25 years old. The population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the impoverished countryside, which also lacks basic infrastructure.

The World Bank in 2016 formally reclassified Cambodia as a lower middle-income country as a result of continued rapid economic growth over the past several years. Cambodia’s graduation from a low-income country will reduce its eligibility for foreign assistance and will challenge the government to seek new sources of financing in 2017. The Cambodian Government has been working with bilateral and multilateral donors, including the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and IMF, to address the country's many pressing needs; more than 30% of the government budget comes from donor assistance. A major economic challenge for Cambodia over the next decade will be fashioning an economic environment in which the private sector can create enough jobs to handle Cambodia's demographic imbalance.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$40.96 billion (2016 est.)
$38.11 billion (2015 est.)
$35.43 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$58.94 billion (2016 est.)
$55.09 billion (2015 est.)
$51.47 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate7.5% (2016 est.)
7.6% (2015 est.)
7.5% (2014 est.)
7% (2016 est.)
7% (2015 est.)
7.1% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$5,700 (2016 est.)
$5,400 (2015 est.)
$5,100 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$3,700 (2016 est.)
$3,500 (2015 est.)
$3,400 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 21.3%
industry: 32.5%
services: 39.4% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 26.7%
industry: 29.8%
services: 43.5% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line22% (2013 est.)
17.7% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 3.3%
highest 10%: 30.3% (2008)
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 28% (2013 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)0.7% (2016 est.)
1.3% (2015 est.)
2.8% (2016 est.)
1.2% (2015 est.)
Labor force3.5 million (2016 est.)
6.643 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 73.1%
industry: 6.1%
services: 20.6% (2012 est.)
agriculture: 48.7%
industry: 19.9%
services: 31.5% (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate1.3% (2012 est.)
1.4% (2014 est.)
0.3% (2013 est.)
0.2% (2012 est.)
note: according to official statistics; underemployment is high
Distribution of family income - Gini index36.7 (2008)
34.6 (2002)
37.9 (2008 est.)
41.9 (2004 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $2.882 billion
expenditures: $3.822 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $3.388 billion
expenditures: $3.562 billion (2016 est.)
Industriesmining (copper, tin, gold, gypsum); timber, electric power, agricultural processing, rubber, construction, garments, cement, tourism
tourism, garments, construction, rice milling, fishing, wood and wood products, rubber, cement, gem mining, textiles
Industrial production growth rate8% (2016 est.)
8.3% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productssweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, tea, peanuts, rice; cassava (manioc, tapioca), water buffalo, pigs, cattle, poultry
rice, rubber, corn, vegetables, cashews, cassava (manioc, tapioca), silk
Exports$3.075 billion (2016 est.)
$2.928 billion (2015 est.)
$8.762 billion (2016 est.)
$8.453 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditieswood products, coffee, electricity, tin, copper, gold, cassava
clothing, timber, rubber, rice, fish, tobacco, footwear
Exports - partnersThailand 30.4%, China 26.9%, Vietnam 17.5% (2015)
US 23%, UK 8.7%, Germany 8.2%, Japan 7.4%, Canada 6.7%, China 5.1%, Vietnam 5%, Thailand 4.9%, Netherlands 4% (2015)
Imports$3.936 billion (2016 est.)
$4.058 billion (2015 est.)
$12.32 billion (2016 est.)
$11.92 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, consumer goods
petroleum products, cigarettes, gold, construction materials, machinery, motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products
Imports - partnersThailand 60.9%, China 18.6%, Vietnam 7.3% (2015)
Thailand 28.7%, China 22.2%, Vietnam 16.4%, Hong Kong 6.1%, Singapore 5.7% (2015)
Debt - external$11.98 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$10.77 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$8.46 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.483 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange rateskips (LAK) per US dollar -
8,190.2 (2016 est.)
8,147.9 (2015 est.)
8,147.9 (2014 est.)
8,049 (2013 est.)
8,007.3 (2012 est.)
riels (KHR) per US dollar -
4,066 (2016 est.)
4,067.8 (2015 est.)
4,067.8 (2014 est.)
4,037.5 (2013 est.)
4,033 (2012 est.)
Fiscal year1 October - 30 September
calendar year
Public debt61.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
61.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
33.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
33.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$1.024 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.058 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$8.477 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.376 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$2.35 billion (2016 est.)
-$2.114 billion (2015 est.)
-$1.678 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.886 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$13.76 billion (2016 est.)
$19.37 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$15.14 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$12.44 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$29.17 billion (2014 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$1.012 billion (2012 est.)
$576.8 million (2011 est.)
$NA
Central bank discount rate4.3% (31 December 2010)
4% (31 December 2009)
NA% (31 December 2012)
5.25% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate16.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
18.2% (31 December 2015 est.)
11.8% (31 December 2016 est.)
11.71% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$8.135 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.231 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$11.72 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$9.776 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$1.161 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.132 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.785 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.602 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$7.782 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.196 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$14.38 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$12.12 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues20.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
17.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-6.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
-0.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 62.6%
government consumption: 14.1%
investment in fixed capital: 33.1%
investment in inventories: 1%
exports of goods and services: 47.2%
imports of goods and services: -58% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 78.5%
government consumption: 5.4%
investment in fixed capital: 21%
investment in inventories: 1.6%
exports of goods and services: 64.7%
imports of goods and services: -71.2% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving25% of GDP (2016 est.)
20% of GDP (2015 est.)
25.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
12.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
11.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
11.1% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

LaosCambodia
Electricity - production16 billion kWh (2014 est.)
3 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption3.9 billion kWh (2014 est.)
4.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports13 billion kWh (2014 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports1.3 billion kWh (2014 est.)
1.8 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Oil - production0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Natural gas - production0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity3.4 million kW (2014 est.)
1.4 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels1.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
32.7% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants98.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
57.4% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
10% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption3,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)
36,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports3,480 bbl/day (2013 est.)
36,240 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy500,000 Mt (2013 est.)
6.5 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 900,000
electrification - total population: 87%
electrification - urban areas: 97%
electrification - rural areas: 82% (2013)
population without electricity: 9,900,000
electrification - total population: 34%
electrification - urban areas: 97%
electrification - rural areas: 18% (2013)

Telecommunications

LaosCambodia
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 962,497
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 256,387
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 3.727 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 54 (July 2015 est.)
total: 20.851 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 133 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: service to public is generally improving; the government relies on a radiotelephone network to communicate with remote areas
domestic: mobile cellular network coverage including 3G is relatively widespread, although usage has slowed as the regulator imposed a strict policy on pricing and competition is effectively discouraged; network performance has suffered because of insufficient maintenance and upgrades
international: country code - 856; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) and a second to be developed by China (2017)
general assessment: adequate fixed-line and/or cellular service in Phnom Penh and other provincial cities; mobile-cellular phone systems are widely used in urban areas to bypass deficiencies in the fixed-line network; mobile-phone coverage is rapidly expanding in rural areas
domestic: fixed-line connections stand at about 2 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage, aided by competition among service providers, has increased to over 130 per 100 persons
international: country code - 855; adequate but expensive landline and cellular service available to all countries from Phnom Penh and major provincial cities; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) (2015)
Internet country code.la
.kh
Internet userstotal: 1.258 million
percent of population: 18.2% (July 2015 est.)
total: 2.985 million
percent of population: 19% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast media6 TV stations operating out of Vientiane - 3 government-operated and the others commercial; 17 provincial stations operating with nearly all programming relayed via satellite from the government-operated stations in Vientiane; Chinese and Vietnamese programming relayed via satellite from Lao National TV; broadcasts available from stations in Thailand and Vietnam in border areas; multi-channel satellite and cable TV systems provide access to a wide range of foreign stations; state-controlled radio with state-operated Lao National Radio (LNR) broadcasting on 5 frequencies - 1 AM, 1 SW, and 3 FM; LNR's AM and FM programs are relayed via satellite constituting a large part of the programming schedules of the provincial radio stations; Thai radio broadcasts available in border areas and transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are also accessible (2012)
mixture of state-owned, joint public-private, and privately owned broadcast media; 9 TV broadcast stations with most operating on multiple channels, including 1 state-operated station broadcasting from multiple locations, 6 stations either jointly operated or privately owned with some broadcasting from several locations, and 2 TV relay stations - one relaying a French TV station and the other relaying a Vietnamese TV station; multi-channel cable and satellite systems are available; roughly 50 radio broadcast stations - 1 state-owned broadcaster with multiple stations and a large mixture of public and private broadcasters; several international broadcasters are available (2009)

Transportation

LaosCambodia
Roadwaystotal: 39,586 km
paved: 5,415 km
unpaved: 34,171 km (2009)
total: 44,709 km
paved: 3,607 km
unpaved: 41,102 km (2010)
Waterways4,600 km (primarily on the Mekong River and its tributaries; 2,900 additional km are intermittently navigable by craft drawing less than 0.5 m) (2012)
3,700 km (mainly on Mekong River) (2012)
Airports41 (2013)
16 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
total: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 33
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 22 (2013)
total: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Military

LaosCambodia
Military branchesLao People's Armed Forces (LPAF): Lao People's Army (LPA, includes Riverine Force), Air Force (2011)
Royal Cambodian Armed Forces: Royal Cambodian Army, Royal Khmer Navy, Royal Cambodian Air Force; the Royal Cambodian Gendarmerie is the military police force responsible for internal security; the National Committee for Maritime Security performs Coast Guard functions and has representation from military and civilian agencies (2016)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - minimum 18-months (2012)
18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP0.2% of GDP (2013)
0.22% of GDP (2012)
0.23% of GDP (2011)
2% of GDP (2015 est.)
1.66% of GDP (2014)
1.58% of GDP (2013)
1.55% of GDP (2012)
1.5% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

LaosCambodia
Disputes - internationalsoutheast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on completion of demarcation with Thailand but disputes remain over islands in the Mekong River; Cambodia and Laos have a longstanding border demarcation dispute; concern among Mekong River Commission members that China's construction of eight dams on the Upper Mekong River and construction of more dams on its tributaries will affect water levels, sediment flows, and fisheries; Cambodia and Vietnam are concerned about Laos' extensive plans for upstream dam construction for the same reasons
Cambodia is concerned about Laos' extensive upstream dam construction; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of boundary; in 2011 Thailand and Cambodia resorted to arms in the dispute over the location of the boundary on the precipice surmounted by Preah Vihear Temple ruins, awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962 and part of a UN World Heritage site; Cambodia accuses Vietnam of a wide variety of illicit cross-border activities; progress on a joint development area with Vietnam is hampered by an unresolved dispute over sovereignty of offshore islands
Illicit drugsestimated opium poppy cultivation in 2008 was 1,900 hectares, about a 73% increase from 2007; estimated potential opium production in 2008 more than tripled to 17 metric tons; unsubstantiated reports of domestic methamphetamine production; growing domestic methamphetamine problem (2009)
narcotics-related corruption reportedly involving some in the government, military, and police; limited methamphetamine production; vulnerable to money laundering due to its cash-based economy and porous borders
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Laos is a source and, to a lesser extent, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Lao economic migrants may encounter conditions of forced labor or sexual exploitation in destination countries, most often Thailand; Lao women and girls are exploited in Thailand’s commercial sex trade, domestic service, factories, and agriculture; a small, possibly growing, number of Lao women and girls are sold as brides in China and South Korea and subsequently sex trafficked; Lao men and boys are victims of forced labor in the Thai fishing, construction, and agriculture industries; some Lao children, as well as Vietnamese and Chinese women and girls, are subjected to sex trafficking in Laos; other Vietnamese and Chinese, and possibly Burmese, adults and girls transit Laos for sexual and labor exploitation in neighboring countries, particularly Thailand
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Laos does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; authorities sustained moderate efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict trafficking offenders; the government failed to make progress in proactively identifying victims exploited within the country or among those deported from abroad; the government continues to rely almost entirely on local and international organizations to provide and fund services to trafficking victims; although Lao men and boys are trafficked, most protective services are only available to women and girls, and long-term support is lacking; modest prevention efforts include the promotion of anti-trafficking awareness on state-controlled media (2015)
current situation: Cambodia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Cambodian men, women, and children migrate to countries within the region and, increasingly, the Middle East for legitimate work but are subjected to sex trafficking, domestic servitude, or forced labor in fishing, agriculture, construction, and factories; Cambodian men recruited to work on Thai-owned fishing vessels are subsequently subjected to forced labor in international waters and are kept at sea for years; poor Cambodian children are vulnerable and, often with the families’ complicity, are subject to forced labor, including domestic servitude and forced begging, in Thailand and Vietnam; Cambodian and ethnic Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked from rural areas to urban centers and tourist spots for sexual exploitation; Cambodian men are the main exploiters of child prostitutes, but men from other Asian countries, and the West travel to Cambodia for child sex tourism
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Cambodia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; authorities made modest progress in prosecutions and convictions of traffickers in 2014 but did not provide comprehensive data; endemic corruption continued to impede law enforcement efforts, and no complicit officials were prosecuted or convicted; the government sustained efforts to identify victims and refer them to NGOs for care, but victim protection remained inadequate, particularly for assisting male victims and victims identified abroad; a new national action plan was adopted, but guidelines for victim identification and guidance on undercover investigation techniques are still pending after several years (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook