Vietnam’s development record over the past 30 years is remarkable. Vietnam now is one of the most dynamic emerging countries in the East Asia region.
World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, Laura Tuck has reaffirmed the World Bank Group’s continued support for Vietnam as the country addresses the challenges of rapid urbanization and the impacts of climate change.
During her first visit to Vietnam on December 8th, Ms. Tuck said “Vietnam’s transformation from one of the poorest country to a middle-income country in just three decades is an inspiration to many countries around the world. The World Bank looks forward to continue its close partnership with Vietnam to ensure this growth is inclusive, sustainable and climate-resilient.”
In Ho Chi Minh City, Ms. Tuck witnessed the development impacts brought about by World Bank funded projects. She then traveled to the Mekong Delta Ben Tre province to witness the impacts of climate change on the lives, livelihoods and assets of communities.
During her meeting with leaders from Can Tho City, Ms. Tuck discussed the role of cities in the transformation of the Mekong Delta, a region with high population density, and the importance of strengthening urban resilience.
Urbanization can fuel higher growth, but achieving urban agglomeration requires an update of the current urbanization model. Significant investments over recent decades have made headway, but more productive infrastructure, particularly in energy, transport, water, sanitation, and telecommunication, are needed. Continued modernization of the agriculture sector is also key, as agriculture will remain an important driver for growth and poverty reduction in Vietnam for years to come.
The Government of Vietnam continues to show commitment to reforms. Vietnam’s 2011 – 2020 Socio-Economic Development Strategy (SEDS) – a 10 year strategy – highlights the need for structural reforms, environmental sustainability, social equity and emerging issues of macroeconomic stability. It defines three “breakthrough areas”: (i) promoting skills development, particularly for modern industry and innovation; (ii) improving market institutions, and (iii) further infrastructure development.
The Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) for 2016-2020, approved in April 2016, acknowledges the slow progress on certain policy priorities and emphasizes the need to accelerate reforms.
Vietnam has also made significant advances in the provision of basic services. The Vietnamese population today is more educated and healthier than twenty years ago—and these advances are enjoyed across society. Learning outcomes are high, including in primary school. Infant and under-five mortality rates have been significantly reduced in the last twenty years, down to 19 and 24 mortalities per thousand births in 2012, respectively. Stunting also significantly decreased, from 61 percent in 1993 to 23 percent in 2012. Life expectancy at birth is now 76 years, an improvement from 71 years in 1993.