VIENTIANE, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected the Lao economy to grow at 6.8 percent in 2017, lower than the previous year due to lower commodity production and stagnant tourism.
According to the latest Regional Economic Outlook for Asia and the Pacific by the IMF, growth in the frontier economies and small states, on average, slowed in 2016, though there have been considerable variations.
Among countries where activity moderated, growth in Laos declined to 6.9 percent in 2016 owing to a slowdown in major trading partners, lower metals prices, and poor weather for agriculture.
After falling to 6.8 percent in 2017, the Lao economy is forecast to shrink further in 2018 with growth rate reduces to 6.7 percent, according to IMF.
Laos has been recommended to diversify its economy, not relying only on its resource sector.
It is critical for the nation to improve the business climate along with education and skills development to supply workforce for the industrial sector, reported Lao state-run daily Vientiane Times on Thursday.
Laos is on the right track to further integrate its economy with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), however, the country needs to work harder in boosting its productivity to promote exports and change the structure of production towards value added manufacturing and services.
Meanwhile, the outlook estimates growth for the Asia-Pacific region to increase this year to 5.5 percent from 5.3 percent in 2016. Growth will remain strong at 5.4 percent in 2018, as the region continues to be the leader of global growth.