Laos has begun to witness improvements in non-resource exports amid declining mining output and a government policy to boost growth in the manufacturing sector, local daily Vientiane Times on Thursday quoted a World Bank report as saying.
The World Bank unveiled its mid-year economic update in earlier June, providing a number of indicators of Lao economic development, including the export composition of the economy, which is one of the fastest growing in the region.
According to the report, the share of non-resource exports began to grow in recent years due to the decline in the value of mining exports and the increase in the value of exports by the manufacturing sector.
Exports by the mining sector were estimated to account for only 24 percent of the total exports in 2017, dropping from 42.8 percent in 2010. The total exports of Laos were valued at around 5.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, according to the World Bank, which cited data from Lao authorities.
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Thanks to the Lao government’s policy and international support for boosting growth in the non-resource sector, the value of exports of the manufacturing sector witnessed improvement over the past year.
In 2010, the value of exports of the manufacturing sector accounted for only 12 percent of the total exports. The improvement of the manufacturing policy led to the exports of the manufacturing sector increasing to 17.3 percent of the total exports in 2017.
The exports of the agriculture sector also improved over the past year. The composition of this sector grew from the low base of only 7.5 percent of the total exports in 2010 to 14 percent in 2017.
Exports of other non-mining products also grew from about 10 percent of the total exports to 14.8 percent.
Electricity exports grew from 12 percent in 2010 to 22 percent in 2017.
World Bank economists said the growth of non-resource exports in overall Lao exports was one of the indicators that the economic growth base has been diversified, which is good for the economic sustainability.
The World Bank and the international community have urged the Lao government to engage technical support to improve the business climate so that the country would be in a position to attract more investments in the non-resource sector.
The Lao government has issued a decree directing a number of ministries and state agencies to improve their services to meet the demands of the business community, particularly in the area of business registration, and access to electricity and investment capital.