Australian Embassy
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Km 4, Thadeua Road, Watnak (P.O. Box 292)

Development Cooperation

Overview of Australia's Aid Program to Lao PDR

Australia has had a long-standing development cooperation engagement in the Lao PDR. Australian aid currently focuses on basic education, trade and investment facilitation and rural development.

In 2019-20, the Australian Government will provide an estimated $37.9 million in Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Laos. This includes an estimated $20.6 in bilateral funding, managed by DFAT.

Australia's ODA to Laos aims to help the Lao Government lift its people out of poverty, and develop as a prosperous and stable neighbour that can contribute constructively to the region. This objective is consistent with the themes of the Australian Foreign Policy White Paper — contributing to global efforts to reduce poverty, alleviate suffering and promote sustainable development; and building our influence through education, including scholarships.


Basic Education

Basic education is the flagship of Australia’s development cooperation partnership with the Lao PDR.
Australia is the largest bilateral donor to basic education in Lao PDR. We deliver our support in partnership with the Lao Government, multilateral development agencies and other donors to build schools, train teachers, strengthen school management... Read more about BEQUAL 


Human Resource Development

Basic education is the flagship of Australia’s development cooperation partnership with the Lao PDR.The Government of Lao PDR has placed priority on building its human resource capacity to address existing skills gaps to sustain social development and economic growth and support new enterprise.  Read related infomation Here 


Trade and Private Sector Reform

Basic education is the flagship of Australia’s development cooperation partnership with the Lao PDR.Australia is helping the Lao Government to simplify and improve the transparency of regulation for business, including establishment of an electronic trade portal which will publish in one place all import and export related laws, regulations and procedures.


Rural Development

Australia is supporting inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction in Laos through a range of rural development activities. Australia focuses its development assistance on rural and remote areas where poverty is concentrated. We support community-based aid investments that tackle key constraints to rural economic development and improve livelihoods and incomes for the rural poor.  


Other Programs – Water, Agriculture Research and Trafficking in Persons

Natural resources play a vital role in the Lao economy, representing 37 per cent of Laos’ GDP. Hydropower, in particular, holds a prominent role in the Government of Laos’ current National Socio-Economic Development Plan, and is seen as a major potential source of future revenue. Australia is supporting regulatory reform of the natural resources sector focussed on better management of land concessions, stronger social and environmental protocols, and fiscal reform to ensure mining and hydropower revenue is captured in the national budget system. Australia is also working with hydropower developers to strengthen the social and environmental standards of their projects.

Australia has been a donor to the Mekong River Commission (MRC) since 1996, providing more than A$20 million to date. Support for the MRC is only one component of Australia’s Mekong Water Resources Program (A$47 million, 2007-2014). The program also works with civil society and directly with MRC member governments to promote regional cooperation in achieving sustainable development. A new Mekong Water Resources Program has been designed for 2014-2018 (approximately A$40 million). A specific program in Laos provides technical assistance to the government to improve the oversight capabilities for the hydropower and mining sectors.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is running 17 projects in Laos, at an estimated cost of over A$6 million annually, to strengthen Laos’ agricultural sector by providing market-driven alternatives to current farming practices and piloting new crops and products.