Imports$2.336 billion (2011 est.)
Exports$2.131 billion (2011 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)7.6% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate2.5% (2009 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,700 (2011 est.)
National product real growth rate7.8% (2010 est.)
Internet users300,000 (2009)
Telephones - mobile cellular4.003 million (2009)
Population growth rate1.655% (2012 est.)
Population6,586,266 (July 2012 est.)
Modern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th Century under King FA NGUM.
For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos.
After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina....
The government of Laos, one of the few remaining one-party Communist states, began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986.
The results, starting from an extremely low base, were striking - growth averaged 6% per year from 1988-2008 except during the short-lived drop caused by the Asian financial crisis that began in 1997.
Despite this high growth rate, Laos remains a country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, particularly in rural areas....
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