A government report disclosed last week that 93 percent of the total value of Vietnamese investment in Laos lies in eight provinces in central and southern Laos.
In total, Vietnam has investments in 16 of the 17 provinces in Laos, including the capital.
The report stated that as of December 2011, the Lao government had approved 207 investment projects with total registered capital of US$3.4 billion.
Some 30.5 percent of this investment capital is in eight real estate and service projects worth US$1.04 billion, another 15.3 percent worth US$521 million has been invested in 33 agriculture and forestry development projects, and 27 percent worth US$921 million has been put into four hydropower projects, with the balance invested in other sectors.
A total of 113 projects worth US$1.55 billion have been undertaken in central Laos, which is equivalent to 45.5 percent of the total value of Vietnamese investment in Laos.
With an estimated investment value of US$1 billion, the Vientiane Long Thanh Golf project in the Dongphosy area of Hadxaifong district, Vientiane, is one of the major undertakings in central Laos.
Although there are only 50 Vietnamese projects in the south of the country, the total amount of capital invested in this area, US$1.62 billion, is more than that invested in the central region.
Vietnamese Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group invests mainly in rubber and sugarcane plantations, hydropower and mining projects, and is a major player in the south of the country.
The southern and central provinces range from Vientiane to Borikhamxay, Khammuan, Savannakhet, Saravan, Champassak, Xekong and Attapeu.
During an official goodwill visit to Laos by Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang on February 9-11, a report that was presented said Vietnam planned to increase its business activities in Laos. It expressed the hope that by 2015 the two countries will reach a two-way trade value of US$2 billion.
Two-way trade between Vietnam and Laos has steadily been increasing. In the first 11 months of 2011, the trade value reached US$636 million, a year-on-year increase of 48 percent. Of this sum, Vietnam's exports to Laos amounted to US$239 million, up 32 percent compared to the same period last year.
Vietnam will also seek to remain one of the top investors in Laos over the next three to five years. On its part, the Lao government is committed to facilitating investment and creating more favourable conditions to attract foreign investors.
According to the report, Laos and Vietnam will identify potential economic prospects for investment in central and southern areas of Laos in various sectors such as hydropower, processing, and industrial tree plantations.
As Laos and Vietnam share a long north-south border, enhanced economic cooperation between the two countries will benefit those provinces that are adjacent to the border.
Laos launched its investment renovation policy in 1986, since when many foreign investors have been attracted to the country, helping to create jobs for the people of Laos. Investors from more than 53 countries are now present in Laos.