The title is a bit provocative, because there are some things that improved in the 2 years I am living in Vientiane now. But in total, they are just not enough. So I decided to start a list of things that in my opinion improved, and things they did not improved. So lets start in the good old expat tradition with the complains.
What did not improve:
Business climate: I started the Laos Business Meetings, so I tried, but I failed because of the lack of interest of the business community. But even worst, new labour laws, new taxes and the special treatment of investments from some neighbouring countries makes business in Laos for everyone else really difficult.
Traffic infrastructure: There is zero improvement in roads all over the country. Luang Prabang and Pakse still lack of a proper connection (aka Highway) to the capital. Flights into and out of Laos are a few, and overpriced. Public transport, in particular overland, ist still dangerous without proper safety standards.
Electricity: We never had so many power cuts as in the last 3 months. And the numbers of fires from malfunctioning cables are increasing - at least in my village.
Entertainment: Still no entertainment that at least meets regional standards. Waterpark closed, ITECC getting more dirty every day, and fewer concerts and cultural events in the Culturall Hall. Beside the 3 expat bands we all know already, nothing to do in the evening or on weekends.
Education: Haven't seen much progress, in particular changes to the standard curriculum. Level of English is still poor, even for those learning it in school. Exception is Lao-American College.
Lao businesses: The major visible investments happened in the restaurant business, and were done by Thai: Fuji, Black Canyon and Mix. Can't remember any Lao business that improved life here, but maybe I am just getting old, so please correct me.
Law enforcement: No improvement at all. Traffic police still looks for girls instead of traffic violations, and corruption level is still high.
Shopping: We got the D-Mart, a dirty rotten place with food we already have. The big Big C announcement was just this, and announcement. Thalat Sao Mall 2 is screwed already, Regal Mall not even started, That Luang Mall a ruin and Asean Mall empty. I don't think that New World and World Trade Center will ever build.
TV: Lao cable seems to be dead, Digital TV has a bad quality and poor selection of international channels.
Public transport: We do have taxis now and new buses.
Border crossing: It seems that Lao authorities work faster now, or let's say, it doesn't take that long anymore as before.
Vet service: Dr. Kamdeng has a x-ray machine now.
Minimarts: M-Point is really expanding. Lets hope supply will expand as well.
I know that this is a list written by an expat. Lao people will see this totally different. And I may be wrong, or forget things. Feel free to comment.