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Laos: Chinese investment soar but has caused displacement and adverse impacts on people's health

"Chinese Investments in Laos Soar, but Little Wealth is Spread", 8 September 2021

China’s investment in Laos has climbed since 1989 to a cumulative $16 billion, but little of this money has benefited ordinary citizens, while the negative impact from Chinese development projects isn’t being counted accurately, Lao sources say.


Foreign investment totals are added to calculations of the country’s GDP, which was $19 billion in 2020, “but mega projects such as hydropower dams and other infrastructure schemes don’t distribute their benefits equally to local people,” a Lao researcher told RFA, speaking on condition of anonymity for reasons of security.


In the agricultural sector, the overuse of herbicides and pesticides by Chinese-invested banana plantations in northern Laos have harmed the environment and health of people living in surrounding areas, he added.


Chinese hydropower and mining projects, the Lao-China railway, and an expressway project in the Lao capital Vientiane have also displaced thousands of families, many of whom lost their farms, incomes, and ways of life in the process.