A.8    
 

Districts identified as poor

   
 

The National Growth and Poverty Eradication Strategy (NGPES) is central to the national development agenda and encapsulates the essence of the Lao PDR’s approach to the achievement of the goal set in 1996 by the 6th Party Congress, namely, that of exiting from the group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) by 2020. In this strategy, high priority districts for poverty alleviation and development efforts were identified. These are presented on Map A.8.  At that time the most relevant and reliable data for poverty monitoring available was at the district level thus priority was given to this level. Moreover, co-ordination, consultation and participation can best be achieved at the level of the district.

The Prime Minister’s Instruction No 010/PM resulted in the definition of a poverty line together with different poverty criteria allowing local authorities to identify and monitor poverty at the district and also at the household level.  ‘Poor’ districts were those districts where over 51% of the villages were poor.  There were additional criteria which included districts where over 40% of the villages were without a village school or one nearby, or were without a dispensary or pharmacy, or if over 60% of the villages had no access road or were without access to clean water.

On the basis of these criteria, 72 out of the 141 districts were identified as poor with 40 identified as very poor. For reasons of national equity, seven of the remaining 32 districts were added. These districts have an incidence of poverty of 70%, the highest, as calculated from the number of poor households. The incidence of poverty in the remaining districts is 35%.  The average incidence of poverty of all the 72 poor districts is 55%, which is significantly higher than the 23% poverty incidence in the remaining ‘non-poor’ districts.

The map shows non-poor districts as white, poor districts as yellow and the high priority poor districts as red. As shown on this map, the poorest districts are clustered in the north-west of the country in the provinces of Luangnamtha, Bokeo and Oudomxay and in parts of Phongsaly province. From Huaphanh province they then follow the Vietnamese border and the Phou Luang (the Annamite Chain) down to the south-eastern tip of the Lao PDR. In terms of topography the poorest red districts can be found mainly in the mountainous and highland areas where accessibility is often difficult. Interestingly, only very few of the poor priority districts can be found along the border with Thailand. Most of the non-poor districts are located along the Mekong River, the Lao-Thai border, and also on the main roads from the north to the centre of the Lao PDR.

Even though this map gives a relatively coarse, general picture of poverty and well-being in the Lao PDR, it is very important.  It represents the spatial dimension of the NGPES strategy and thus has guided and will continue to guide considerable amounts of development assistance. It will therefore of great interest to relate this map to the recent and highly disaggregated socio-economic indicators presented throughout this atlas, and in particular the indicators in Section I relating to poverty.

 

 

 


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