Being landlocked posts challenges, opportunities for Laos

World Today

Being landlocked posts challenges, opportunities for Laos

Laos has just finished hosting the meeting of foreign ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries and the dialogue partners, including the U.S. and China. Despite high economic growth averaging almost eight percent a year over the past decade, it remains one of the region’s least developed countries. It is also ASEAN’s only landlocked country, sharing borders with Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and China. But while that geographic location presents challenges, it is also an opportunity to go from being land-locked to land-linked.

CCTV America’s Rian Maelzer reports from the capital Vientiane. Follow Rian Maelzer on Twitter @rdamael

Being landlocked posts challenges, opportunities for Laos

Being landlocked posts challenges, opportunities for Laos

While that geographic location presents challenges, it is also an opportunity to go from being landlocked to land-linked. CCTV America's Rian Maelzer reports from the capital Vientiane.

The extent of Laos’ rail system is a mere few kilometers-long line across a bridge from the Thai border to the outskirts of the Lao capital. But China is planning to help build a fast rail link from Yunnan province, China to Vientiane.

Gradually, with foreign assistance, Laos has been upgrading its roads, boosting cross-border trade with its five neighboring countries and drawing more tourists.

“These have helped building transport corridor, transport backbone for Lao to integrate its economies to the regional economy and the rest of ASEAN,” Rattanatay Luanglatbdith of Asian Development Bank said. “And of course infrastructure inadequacies remain one of the constraint for the sustainable and inclusive growth in Laos.”

A full 80 percent of Laos’ trade is with other ASEAN countries, and 80 percent of the investment here comes from its ASEAN neighbors as well. Add in China’s trade and investment, and Laos’ near total reliance on its closest neighbors is all too clear.

Given its location, Laos is among those that could benefit most from greater integration as part of the ASEAN Economic Community. But integration also brings more demands and more competition, for which Laos is ill prepared.

“It’s very important to invest in people and invest in young people, to have a labour force that is available, that is skilled, especially with such a young population, and investing in human capital,” Kaarina Immonen, UN resident coordinator, said.

The proposed new rail line from China through Laos to Thailand, and linking to Malaysia and Singapore, will hugely improve the country’s connectivity and economic potential. But Laos can’t wait for that to materialize.

It needs to continue to improve road, electricity and telecommunications and upgrading the skills of its people to take full advantage of its central location.

  • During this shortcoming Grand Solar Minimum (www.seawapa.org/gsm), there won’t be enough space to grow food and for comfort living, except between the horse latitudes, roughly 30° latitudes north and south of the equator. Comprising roughly Central America, Texas, Florida, south Asia, south China, ASEAN, and 90% of Africa, but with productivity relying on areas that possess proper fresh drinking water collection, transfer, distribution, recycling, and water cycles speed acceleration systems, proper energy grids and mass transport system.

    Our SEAWAPA project is to harvest fresh drinking water from the 7 month monsoons and rains, the melting ice from Tibet and from the most abundant tropical cyclones region in the world on top of Lao mountain range, transfer it below via gravity by producing electricity, food, and goods, at the same time, distribute them to far-flung floating agricultural modules, to newly built megacities, and to industrial complex across the equator, between the tropical cyclones zone, connecting them to other continents, avoiding post ice age big melt danger. Once done, we can tap into the Primary Water Cycle for larger scale space programs, build Hyperloop transport system for universal distribution of drinking water, food, goods, electricity and heat, all year round. The heat and coldness redistribution across the world will minimize risks caused by Ice Age and post-Ice Age. Asteroids mining and universal commodity dispersion will allow humanity to progress beyond “Sustainability”, and to solve other risks.

    During this Grand Solar Minimum, we are talking about 400% increase of food costs from 2016 to 2030. As consequences, China, Russia, Europe, UK, US, Canada, Brazil, and the Middle-East economies will collapse.

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    http://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2012/eirv39n19-20120511/36-39_3919.pdf