By Joseph J. Zasloff, Leonard Unger

This paintings includes papers provided at a convention known as "Current advancements in Laos" in Washington DC in 1988. the subjects lined diversity from Lao nationalism and American coverage, 1954-1959, to Laotian refugees in Thailand.

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Poultry farming seemed to match Lao needs and Hungarian competence. Twenty years earlier the Hungarians had adapted an effective chicken broiler system after studying the process in the US. Lao delegations visited Hungary to inspect the Hungarian broiler farms, and requested assistance to develop them for Laos. An agreement to develop a chicken-broiler enterprise was reached in 1980 but by the end of 1985 only a few buildings had been constructed, and there was little prospect that production could begin.

Road development retained high priority, with work continuing to complete Route 9, which would provide an outlet to the sea through Vietnam, and rehabilitation of Route 13, the single road running from north to south in Laos. Assistance in forestry was aimed at strengthening state forest enterprises. Most of the asssistance in the mining sector was provided by the socialist bloc countries. Multilateral assistance in 1986 concentrated upon agriculture, hydropower, wood processing, communications, and integrated rural development.

Summarising the problems of COMECON countries with development projects in Laos, the Hungarian diplomat noted that the Lao had no organised budget or foreign aid plan. They seem to live life from day-to-day and cannot plan ahead. They concentrate upon only a few projects to which they attach great importance. He estimated that the Lao had been able to use only about 50 per cent of the aid available to them during the first five-year plan (1981 - 5). The COMECON nations have concluded therefore that their projects should be small-scale, fewer in number, and concentrated in fewer fields.

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