Overview of Australia's aid program to Laos

How we are helping

2014/15 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$34.3 million

2015/16 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$20.6 million

2015/16 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$36.7 million

DFAT will manage an estimated $20.6 million in bilateral funding to Laos in 2015-16.  Total Australian Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Laos in 2015-16 will be an estimated $36.7 million.

Australian ODA will improve socio‑economic development and reduce poverty in Laos.

The website will be updated to reflect priorities following discussions with our partners. These priorities will be detailed further in new Aid Investment Plans which will be finalised by no later than 30 September 2015. 

Further information on current investments in Laos can be found below.

Education and skills development

Supporting better education outcomes, particularly in basic education, is fundamental to development in Laos. Education is the flagship of Australia’s development cooperation partnership with the Lao PDR. Australia delivers support in partnership with multilateral development agencies and other donors to build schools, train teachers, strengthen school management, provide learning resources and school-based feeding programs.

The Government of Laos has placed priority on building its human resource capacity to address existing skills gaps to sustain social development and economic growth. Australia supports human resource development in Laos at the individual and institutional level to address existing shortages in skilled labour and to improve the delivery of basic services.

More information on education and skills development in Laos

Economic development

The extent to which Laos can facilitate and sustain private sector growth will increasingly determine its success in development and reducing poverty. Australia is supporting private sector growth and opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises through improving the trade and investment environment. We continue to support Laos’ integration into the regional and multilateral trading system, and we are working to address some of the policy and institutional impediments to trade and investment in sectors identified as having the ability to promote inclusive growth.

Around 80 per cent of poor people in Laos live in rural areas. Australia works to improve rural economic development by focusing on improving livelihoods and food security through access to savings and credit services, social transfers, and micro-enterprise support. We also improve access to markets and basic services through support for rural infrastructure such as road access, irrigation and dams, water supply and sanitation and other productive infrastructure.

In addition to our bilateral program, Laos also benefits from Australia’s regional investments. For further information, refer to the East Asia Regional page.

More information on economic development in Laos

Our results

Results for 2013-14

Education and skills development:

  • Construction of 393 classrooms in 81 primary schools
  • Training provided to 487 school principals, 2,343 teachers and 1.043 Village Education Development Committee members
  • Provision of nutritious school meals to 50,172 students (24,082 girls) living in the most food insecure districts
  • Provided a total of 50 long-term Australia Awards
  • 70 scholarships were granted to students from disadvantaged backgrounds to study at a Lao university.

Economic development through trade facilitation and rural development:

  • Established a business assistance facility to help Lao businesses develop export growth plans
  • Services trade regulatory assessment commenced which will identify measures to support services trade growth
  • More than 9,500 people increased their production of and access to food due to rice banks and irrigation systems
  • 10,989 additional people have increased access to financial services
  • 877 hectares of land cleared of unexploded ordnance and released benefiting more than 70,000 people.


A group of women plant paddy rice seedlings in a field near Sekong, Laos
A group of women plant paddy rice seedlings in a field near Sekong, Laos (credit: DFAT).
A young boy receives physiotherapy
A young boy receives physiotherapy following an accident that resulted in severe spinal injuries (credit: DFAT).
A man in a canoe, with a bridge in the background
The Friendship bridge built with Australian funding and completed and opened in 1994, crossing the Mekong River and connecting Thailand to Laos (credit: DFAT).