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heading foldHow we are helping

2012/13 Expenditure

$55.9 million

2013/14 Proposed Expenditure

$52.9 million


Expenditure is total official development assistance inclusive of DFAT’s bilateral program, flows from DFAT regional and global programs and other government departments.

Implementation of the revised 2013-14 budget is currently under discussion with partner governments and organisations.


Australian aid in Laos is built on 60 years of Australian development cooperation engagement. Australia is promoting opportunities for all Lao boys and girls by improving access to basic education, resulting in higher enrolment rates, particularly for girls. Australia also provides scholarships for study in Laos and Australia. We are contributing to sustainable economic development by assisting Laos to develop a more broad-based, resilient national economy, and removing barriers to trade, investment, local innovation and rural development. Australia is also providing humanitarian assistance by clearing unexploded ordnance and responding to natural disasters.

Australia has invested $153.5 million in Laos over the previous three years. Our investment has contributed to important development results including:

  • 1,135 school principals and 391 pre-school teachers trained to improve the quality of teaching and learning in primary schools in the 56 most educationally disadvantaged districts
  • more than 239 hectares of land contaminated with unexploded ordnance cleared
  • 16160 households gained access to electricity through the national grid.

Australia expects to provide $52.9 million in development assistance to Laos in 2013–14. Australia remains committed to delivering results in Laos and our development assistance is expected to have a resounding impact in future years. We will provide support for:

  • 400 poor households to improve agricultural productivity, livelihoods and income
  • More than 9000 pre-primary and primary students from disadvantaged areas to be provided with school meals.
  • NGOs and the Government clearance agency to clear unexploded ordnance from at least 500 hectares of land, benefiting around 30,000 people.

More on expected outcomes can be viewed under the 'See our results' tab above.

Read our fact sheet on Australia's aid program in Laos


Results 2011-2012

In 2011:

  • Construction of 162 classrooms in 32 primary schools.
  • School quality training provided to 1135 School Principals, 1571 primary teachers, 391 pre-primary teachers and 2481 Village Education Development Committee members.
  • Offered a total of 66 Australia Awards for the 2012 intake.
  • 70 scholarships were granted to students from disadvantaged backgrounds to study at a Lao university.

Commitments 2012-2013

  • Construction of water and sanitation facilities in more than 300 schools.
  • School quality training of 1529 teachers, 1488 School Principals and 5000 village education development committee members.
  • Provision of school meals to more than 9000 pre-primary and primary students from targeted disadvantaged areas.
  • Provision of around 50 Australia Awards for tertiary study in Australia.
  • Provision of around 70 scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds to study at a Lao university.

Read more about education

Economic development

Results 2011-2012

In 2011:

  • Improved regulatory transparency for businesses through an electronic trade portal.
  • Supported 1200 poor households to improve agricultural productivity, livelihoods and income.
  • An additional 16 160 households gained access to electricity through the national grid.
  • 34km of the national road has been upgraded which benefits more than 10 800 people, increasing poor households’ access to basic services and markets.

Commitments 2012-2013

  • Assisting Laos to streamline, simplify and harmonise regulatory requirements and processes leading to a reduction of export and import clearance times to 7.1 days (from 7.5 days in 2009) and 10.1 days (from 10.6 days in 2009) respectively.
  • Provision of livelihood support to around 400 rural households.
  • Improving rural infrastructure, including 40 kilometers of rural roads.

Read more about economic development


Results 2011-2012

  • Increased efficiency of budget documentation of distribution.
  • Improved revenue collection and better debt management system.
  • Rationalisation of treasury accounts.

Commitments 2012-2013

  • Continue working the Ministry of Finance to strengthen public financial management to deliver more timely distribution of budget documentation, improvements in revenue collection, a better debt management system and rationalisation of treasury accounts.

Read more about governance


Results 2011-2012

  • Supported NGOs and unexploded ordinance (UXO) clearance agencies to clear UXO from 239 hectares of land, benefiting around 17,000 people.

Read more about humanitarian

Research overview

Good research can lead to positive change for the world's poorest by enhancing the design and implementation of development policies and programs. That's why Australia is committed to an innovative research portfolio and funds research, including through:

  • competitive funding mechanisms (such as the Australian Development Research Awards)
  • research partnerships with different Australian, international and developing country research institutions
  • commissioning research to address a specific question or clearly defined research gap
  • one-off research grants, when an existing program of research is relevant to the Australian aid program.

More information on how we fund research

Economic Research on trade facilitation in the Mekong

Australian funding to infrastructure projects in Laos are part of a greater Mekong connectivity initiative to improve local people’s access to markets through infrastructure and trade reform.

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Australia is supporting infrastructure initiatives to improve economic growth and poverty reduction in the Mekong. Photo: Jim Holmes / Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

In 2010, Australia commissioned the Centre for International Economics [external website] to produce a report on the economic benefits of increased trade and transport facilitation in the Greater Mekong Subregion to reinforce the economic case for Australia’s investments in these areas.

The report presents evidence to suggest that economic integration is playing an important role in the dynamic performance of the subregion, but that there is scope to expand this role by further reducing the costs of cross-border trade and transport. In most countries there is considerable room for improvement in trade and transport facilitation, and feasible changes could yield significant increases in national incomes. The evidence suggests that complementing infrastructure investments with procedural reforms to reduce costs and delays of cross-border trade could bring about sizeable economic benefits.

CSIRO Mekong Futures

The Exploring Mekong Region Futures project [external website] aims to improve the sustainability of the Mekong Region by investigating the complex relationships between the production, distribution, and use of energy, food and water of the region.

The project focuses on the dynamic interactions that occur between the management of food, energy and water at local and regional scales.

Changes in countries in the Mekong region are shaped by factors such as cross- border investment flows, climate change, rapid land use change and urbanisation, and increasing regionalism.

Understanding this connectivity of the Mekong region requires both local and regional studies.

Challenge Program on Water and Food Mekong Basin Challenge, and the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol

The Australian Mekong Water Resources Program is funding research by the Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) [external website] to improve decision-making processes on hydropower development. The research program commenced in 2011 and will start demonstrating results by 2013.

Through the CPWF and its partner the Mekong Program on Water, Environment and Resilience, Australia has also funded the development and application of a hydropower sustainability assessment protocol in the Greater Mekong Subregion.


heading foldWhy we give aid


Laos is making steady progress in reducing poverty but remains one of the least developed countries, with an estimated two million people living under the poverty line of $1.25 a day.

As a regional neighbour with 60 years of bilateral relations, Australia is well- placed to work with government and other partners to promote opportunities for all in education, and pursue sustainable economic development through trade reform and by helping rural communities access services, finance and markets.

Find out more about why we give aid to Laos


heading foldHow we give aid

Australia has been a key partner in Laos’ development over the last 60 years and is one of the largest bilateral donors to Laos. Our support is guided by the Australia-Laos Development Cooperation Strategy 2009-15, and assists Government of Laos development priorities and programs in education, rural development and trade reform. We work partnership with multilateral development agencies, other donors, the private sector and civil society and through Australian volunteers.

Find out more about how we give aid to Laos


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

  • Eradicate extreme hunger & poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability

Demographic and development statistics for Laos


Last reviewed: 18 January, 2014