Land investment is booming in Laos, driven especially by demand for natural resources among its rapidly developing neighbours. Yet Laos remains one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, with more than 33% of the population living on less than $1.25 per day (PPP$).
The government of Laos hopes that projects linked to land leases and concessions will boost local productivity, improve infrastructure, and alleviate poverty. But there are many risks to local livelihoods and the environment, and ensuring that land investment sustainably benefits the people of Laos requires effective regulation based on systematic monitoring and transparent data. This policy brief outlines some key insights from the national inventory of land concessions and leases, the most comprehensive accounting of such land deals to date for a single country.