The Laotian government lifted its ban on banana plantations last year but health and environmental problems caused by agricultural chemicals persist.
New Myanmar-China and Laos-Cambodia border agreements saw leaders exploit power dynamics to push national interests that risk exacerbating ethnic conflicts and political repression.
Survivors of last year’s dam collapse in Attapeu, Laos are starting to see compensation from the dam’s developers. But it falls short of their needs.
Recent arms deals with Russia offer Laos few gains. Instead, the republic risks becoming a battleground for Russia and China to compete for influence.
As South Korea seeks to diversify trade, it is offering the Laotian economy a “hand up.” But a top-down development model, social and environmental impacts, and weak regulations put Korean investors and local communities at risk.
Newly constructed dams threaten the delicate ecosystem of the Lower Mekong Basin. The solutions are available but as is so often the case, politics stands in the way.
When Thongloun Sisoulith came to power in 2016, he set out to tackle corruption. Now, two years on, his war against corruption is failing.
China has a colonial agenda with Laos. It provides aid and investment, but both come at the cost of Laotian sovereignty.
The retail ivory market in Laos has rocketed in recent years. Corruption and weak law enforcement remain an obstacle to eradicating the destructive trade.
Laos is pushing hard to meet United Nations (UN) development targets. The government risks bankrupting the nation in the process.