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Laos Makes Strides towards Poverty Alleviation

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Laos is pursuing its drive to reduce the poverty rate below 10 percent by 2020, while also attempting to meet outstanding Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Head of the Central Committee on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication, Mr. Thongvanh Vilayheuang, highlighted various aspects of the government’s five-year development plan at a lecture yesterday at the Party Central Committee’s Propaganda and Training Board.

The lecture was given to mark International Day and National Week for Poverty Eradication, which runs from October 17 to 24.

“The Resolution adopted by the 10th Party Congress this year targets a poverty rate of not more than 10 percent by 2020, while the proportion of families living in poverty should not exceed 5 percent of the total,” Mr. Thongvanh said.

He highlighted the achievements made in the implementation of the programme over the past five years, saying that Laos now has more than 1.1 million families, of which 76,600 families or about 6.5 percent are living in poverty.

Some 896,000 families or 71.1 percent of the total have achieved ‘developed family’ status.

“This represents a rapid increase in the number of developed families, with more than 400,000 families attaining this status since 2011,” Mr. Thongvanh said.

The government uses the occasion of International Day and National Week for Poverty Eradication to step up its campaign for poverty reduction, as this is its top priority.

Laos has 8,470 villages – 184 fewer than in 2011 as a result of the merger of some small villages to form larger units under the rural development initiative. This aims to create permanent residences and a secure place where poorer people can earn a living and stand on their own legs.

Laos currently has 1,736 poor villages, accounting for 20.5 percent of the 8,470 villages throughout the country.

More than 3,500 villages or 42 percent have been given ‘developed village’ status, more than 7,000 villages have roads that allow for year round travel, and 7,600 villages have allocated sources of livelihood.

Mr. Thongvanh noted the need for a law to regulate the allocation of property to facilitate the assignment of residences and sources of livelihood so that relocated communities are secure and graduation from poverty is sustained.

He noted that although the government has begun the implementation of the eighth five-year National Socio-Economic Development Plan and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, some of the Millennium Development Goals have yet to be achieved.

Source: Vientiane Times