Laos's development outlook.
Second-stage construction of the Xayaburi hydroelectric dam began on January 26, as part of Vientiane's wider scheme for national infrastructure development. Laos's development efforts have long been accompanied by considerable international criticism of its human rights record. These criticisms will acquire fresh significance as Vientiane intensifies development efforts anticipating the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in late 2015, and prepares to take the ASEAN chair in 2016.
- Progress on ASEAN human rights mechanisms will probably be limited under Laos's 2016 chairmanship.
- China's importance to Laos's infrastructural development will grow, despite some local controversy over Chinese investment.
- Laos will maintain economic and diplomatic links with Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.