Vietnam’s Dialogue With Development Partners
British Embassy Hanoi
Overseas development assistance (ODA) still matters to Vietnam. Despite reaching middle income country status, Vietnam still faces serious challenges . We and others in the international community offer support.
The annual dialogue between the international donor community (this year as the Vietnam-Development Partners Forum) was attended by Vietnamese President and five of his ministers throughout; a clear demonstration of how much ODA matters to Vietnam. Economic growth has slowed from a high of 8% to about 5%, which is not enough to sustain the country’s development.
At the Vietnam-Development Partners Forum in early December 2013, the Vietnamese government set out the progress they had already made, such as bringing inflation under control and maintaining levels of FDI, but highlighted the challenges they still faced, including the global economic situation and climate change issues. Vietnamese NGOs at the Forum also highlighted problems around the use of land. And the inequity of access to services faced by ethnic minorities, who make up a disproportionate percentage of Vietnam’s 15 million poor.
Development partners reminded the Vietnamese government that their focus was moving from poverty alleviation to capacity building and technical support as many donors, like DFID, planned to close their offices in Vietnam in the coming years. The international community pressed the government to implement a range of potentially transformative changes. The UK highlighted the need for action on Public Private Partnerships (PPP), including a new government decree, explaining that if done properly, PPP had the potential to generate substantial revenues for the public good. DFID has a PPP specialist working with the Public Procurement Agency to facilitate this process. Picking on the recent Anti-Corruption Dialogue which the UK chaired on behalf of the donor community, we urged the government to develop a time-bound plan of action for implementation in the coming year. We also encouraged the government to sign up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in 2014, as this would increase their revenue and deliver a more attractive environment for business. We made the case for greater economic openness and transparency since evidence showed that these would lead to sustained poverty reduction and growth in prosperity.
The President picked up on these and other development partners’ points, giving undertakings to take action and highlighting plans to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2015; speed up state owned enterprise reform; revitalise planning on poverty.
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