Vientiane (VNA) - The mining sector's contribution to the Lao economy will continue to drop over the coming years, according to an update on domestic economic prospects in 2018 and beyond of the Lao National Economic Research Institute.

The output of the mining industry, one of the main contributing sectors to the economy, has witnessed a continued decline.

Despite the mining sector's lower contribution to the economy, economists at the institute expressed confidence that the country's overall economic growth will range between 6.5 percent and 7 percent in 2018, one of the highest rates in the region.

They said the main driving force for the Lao economy will be electricity generation, adding that a number of hydropower plants have kicked off commercial operations. They include the Nam Ou 2 and 5, Xekaman 1 and Nam Mang 1.

In addition to hydropower, construction will play a key role in securing the strong growth of the economy, according to the economists.

Apart from this, the services sector, particularly retail sales, will make a significant contribution to the economy, the economists said.

International banks such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank recently released their economic projections, and their reports were in line with the forecast of the institute.-VNA