Overview

  • Vietnam’s development record over the past 30 years is remarkable. Economic and political reforms under Đổi Mới, launched in 1986, have spurred rapid economic growth and development and transformed Vietnam from one of the world’s poorest nations to a lower middle-income country.

    Vietnam’s economic performance in 2017 has been resilient, reflecting robust export-oriented manufacturing, strong domestic demand and gradual rebound of agriculture. GDP growth is estimated at 6.8 percent in 2017 – the fastest expansion in the past ten years. The uptick in growth reflects a strong rebound of the agriculture sector, rising global and domestic demand that boosted manufacturing and trade, coupled with robust foreign investment inflows.

    Vietnam’s medium term economic outlook remains positive. Growth and macroeconomic stability are expected to be sustained over the medium term. Growth is projected to stabilize around 6.5 percent, with some potential to surprise on the upside in the short run, especially if the global recovery remains intact. While inflation is projected to remain moderate thanks to a benign global price environment, strong wage growth may ultimately lift core inflation.  External balances are projected to benefit from robust exports and FDI inflows. On the fiscal front, the combination of deficit reduction and divestment from SOEs is expected to contain public debt over the medium term.

    Vietnam is experiencing rapid demographic and social change. After years of growth, Vietnam’s population reached about 95 million in 2017 (up from about 60 million in 1986) and is expected to expand to 120 million before tailing off around 2050. Currently, 70 percent of the population is under 35 years of age, with a life expectancy of close to 73 years. But the population is rapidly aging. There is an emerging middle class—currently accounting for 13 percent of the population, but expected to reach 26 percent by 2026.

    Over the last thirty years, the provision of basic services has significantly improved. Vietnam is today a significantly more educated and healthy society than twenty years ago, and these qualities are equitably distributed. Coverage and learning outcomes are high and equitably achieved in primary school—evidenced by remarkably high scores in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), where the performance of Vietnamese students exceeds that of many OECD countries. From 1993 to 2012, infant and under-five mortality rates were reduced from 33 to 19 and 45 to 24 per thousand births respectively. Stunting also significantly decreased over the same period, from 61 to 23 percent, and life expectancy at birth has increased from 71 to 76 years.

    Access to household infrastructure has improved dramatically. In 2016, 99 percent of the population used electricity as their main source of lighting, up from 14 percent in 1993. In rural areas, in 2016, 77 percent of the population had access to sanitation facilities—compared to 36 percent in 1993. Rural access to clean water has also improved, up from 17 percent in 1993 to 70 percent in 2016. Access to these services in urban areas is above 95 percent.  

    Gender gaps are narrowing. In 2015, female-headed households in Vietnam were less likely to be poor than male-headed households and primary and junior secondary school net enrolment rates are practically equal for boys and girls. There are more female students attending school than male at the upper secondary and tertiary education levels. From 1990 to 2015, the maternal mortality rate fell from 233 to 58.3 deaths per 100,000 live births and infant mortality dropped from 44 deaths per 1000 live births to 15—with no difference between boy and girl infants. Women’s economic empowerment has also steadily improved in Vietnam over the past decade. Women’s labor force participation rate is within 10 percent of that of men, which is a smaller gap than that found in most other countries. In addition, there has been an upward trend in the share of women in wage work, mostly driven by increased employment opportunities for women in foreign-owned export oriented factories.

    Nevertheless, some gaps persist—particularly pertaining to women’s access to high level leadership positions and women ethnic minorities. There is also a significant imbalance in the sex ratio at birth.

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

  • The new World Bank Group Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Vietnam guides the Bank Group's engagements in the country from 2018 to 2022.

    Endorsed on May 30, 2017, and reflecting the priorities expressed in the World Bank Group's 2016 Systematic Country Diagnostic, the Vietnam 2035 Report, and the government of Vietnam’s 2016 - 2020 Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP), the CPF has four prioritized areas:

    • inclusive growth and private sector participation;
    • investment in people and knowledge;
    • environmental sustainability and resilience; 
    • good governance.

    Building on the World Bank Group’s continued strong engagements in Vietnam, the CPF introduces a number of strategic shifts:

    • Comprehensive engagement to strengthen private sector development and participation across sectors;
    • Support to achieve the financial sustainability of public services and transfers;
    • Support to poverty reduction amongst ethnic minorities, through activities that generate jobs and incomes;
    • Multisector engagements to strengthen linkages between education and the labor market; and
    • Promote and stimulate low carbon energy generation.

    Throughout the CPF period, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will also leverage its investment and advisory services and mobilize long-term financing for investments that have strong socioeconomic benefits, and support the development of Vietnam’s capital markets other private finance. Meanwhile, through its traditional political risk insurance and credit enhancement products, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) will complement World Bank lending and IFC engagement by mobilizing private investment and supporting commercial borrowing by the government and potentially also by State-Owned Enterprises.

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

  • Vietnam is transitioning to a market-based economy. The Bank’s partnership with Vietnam since 1993 has contributed to achieving notable results.

    As of March 2017, the World Bank has provided $22.5 billion in grants, credits and concessional loans to Vietnam. Vietnam's existing portfolio consists of 50 IDA/IBRD operations and four stand-alone trust funds projects, with total net commitments of almost $9.5 billion.

    Vietnam received the first loan from the IBRD, the Bank’s lending arm for middle-income countries, in 2009, to support a program of public investment reforms. Today, IBRD has committed more than $3.3 billion to Vietnam, helping the country advance more quickly on its development path.

    With World Bank funding and expertise, in just 4 years Vietnam has expanded access to full-day preschool to 84 percent of five-year-old children – up from 66 percent in 2011. The quality of preschool instruction improved through the provision of professional development for a large number of Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers and managers. More than 2,000 core teachers were trained to improve the capacity of some 250,000 ECE teachers to adopt a child-centered learning approach. (Read the result brief here)

    Vietnam is pursuing reforms and investments that aim to promote green growth and address its high vulnerability to climate change, and has taken decisive steps since signing the Paris Agreement. This partnership is critical for achieving the targets of Vietnam’s Nationally Determined Contribution, by mobilizing resources, providing technical assistance and supporting policy change (Read the feature story and slideshow here).

    Strengthening laws and policies addressing prevalent forms of conflict of interest – such as gift taking, nepotism and using insider information for personal gain – can improve the integrity and efficiency of the public. A recent joint report by the Government of Vietnam and the World Bank, and supported by the UK Government, offers insight into policy reforms that would address conflicts of interest, including reforms of legislation. (Read the story and download the report here)

    Urban upgrading programs have improved the living conditions of millions of urban poor. In many cities, low-income areas suffer from frequent flooding and poor sanitation, posing serious health and environmental risks. The Vietnam Urban Upgrading Project, active in Hai Phong, Nam Dinh, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho, address these challenges. Benefiting some 7.5 million people, the project provided 95,000 micro credit lines for home improvement and income generation to families whose incomes were in the bottom 40 percent. (Read the story and watch the video)

    Urban sanitation remains an important challenge in many cities. The Ho Chi Minh City Environmental Sanitation Project, which directly benefits more than 1.2 million people, has helped transform the city by improving sanitation and reducing flooding (See the story and video). The Coastal Cities Environmental Sanitation Project provided drainage, wastewater collections and treatment plants as well solid waste management facilities and conducted a comprehensive capacity building program, benefiting 800,000 citizens in Dong Hoi, Quy Nhon and Nha Trang. (Read the results brief).

    Forest plantations are important sources of income for low-income families. From 2005 to 2015, more than 43,000 households in six provinces in central Vietnam received micro credit and technical support for small-holder plantation development. The Forest Sector Development Project, involving some 76,500 hectares of forests, is the first, and to date, the only project in Vietnam using the approach of lending to small-holder plantations – an option proving to be much more sustainable than the traditional approach of subsidizing plantations. (Watch the video and view slideshow)

    Water supply and sanitation facilities have expanded. Urban water supply has doubled in small towns to 60 percent between 2006 and 2009 and rose from 75 percent up to 95 percent in cities for the same period. Rural access to clean water has seen an increase from 36 percent to 70 percent between 1999 and 2009. The World Bank has helped support this development through investments in rural water and sanitation in the Red River Delta Region, and through innovative programs such as the Global Output-Based Aid funded project in partnership with the East Meets West Foundation. Between 2005 and 2013, the Red River Delta Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project provided access to clean water for nearly 1.3 million people in four provinces through community-based approaches. Households received access to low-interest loans to build or rehabilitate more than 48,000 hygienic toilets and sanitation facilities, increasing the percentage of households with hygienic toilets from 25 percent to 87 percent. (See the video and story)

    Early-warning and forecasting capacity for integrated disaster risk management continues to improve. Implemented in 12 provinces, the Disaster Risk Management Project helped construct 11 major projects for flood and storm mitigation infrastructure such as safe harbors, river dykes, evacuation roads and drainage pumping stations. More than 210,000 villagers in 30 communes implemented structural measures, including multi-purpose evacuation centers and drainage canals, along with non-structural measures such as the development of Safer Commune Plans and evacuation drills. (View the story and photo slideshow)

    Electricity now reaches 95 percent of the population. Every day for the past ten years in Vietnam, 9,000 more persons were connected to the grid for the first time. In only five years, the country doubled its power generation capacity to 25,000 MW in 2010. Under the Second Rural Energy Project, more than 2.7 million people in some of Vietnam’s poorest areas gained access to electricity. (Watch the video)

    The Third Rural Transport project is helping poor and marginalized in 33 provinces, particularly some of the most difficult mountainous regions of Northern Vietnam, connect to better markets and services. Today, over 90 percent of the population is now connected by all-weather roads. Averaging 4.5 percent of GDP investment, Vietnam leads Asia in its investments in roads infrastructure. (Watch the video)

    With 6.5 fatalities per 10,000 vehicles per year, automotive accidents are a national concern in Vietnam. Addressing one of the highest accident rates in the world, the Vietnam Road Safety Project is working to bring health, education, police and highway agencies together in order to save lives. 95 percent of motorcycle riders now wear a helmet. 

    The first Northern Mountains Poverty Reduction Project has improved the quality of life in remote mountainous areas. Amongst the results: more than 118,000 families gaining access to clean water and more than 350,000 families benefiting from improved health care. A follow-on project has built on these earlier gains and also strengthened the disaster risk preparedness of communities, as well as pilot market linkage service initiatives. As a result, participating families are enjoying incomes at least 10 percent higher than the average of communes outside of the project areas. Almost 80 percent of common-interest farming groups cite better access to market information and higher productivity. (See the story and video)

    Primary school enrollment reached 99 percent of eligible children, and school attendance ratios for boys and girls have largely been equalized. The proportion of primary students in full day programs doubled from 25 percent in 2005 to 50 percent nationwide. Children in disadvantaged districts increased enrollment to 94 percent, while girls’ enrollment in secondary school now exceeds boys at 78 percent to 77 percent. Personalized lessons in 49 primary schools brought a more hands-on approach to learning for ethnic minority students. The New School model, which used innovative teaching and learning practices in the classroom, has been piloted in 1,447 primary schools across all 63 provinces. After three years of project implementation, 2,000 more primary schools volunteered to implement the model. (See the video and story)

    Higher education institutions enjoy greater autonomy and hold greater accountability. A series of three development operations supported the formulation of a new legal framework that provides a greater level of autonomy to higher education institutions and increases their accountability. This accountability includes the ability to decide on the number of students; training content; opening new programs; staff recruitment and retention; disclosing annual reports on financing, and staffing and learning outcomes. (Read the results brief)

    Women’s rights to land titles increased. Following the success of two World Bank-supported pilot projects in the early 2000s, the government passed a Land Law making it mandatory for all land titles to be issued jointly in the names of husbands and wives (watch the video). The Bank-supported Vietnam Land Administration Project aims to issue some 5 million jointly held land titles by 2013.

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

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LENDING

Vietnam: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments



PHOTO GALLERY

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In Depth

Sep 26, 2017

Health Professionals Education and Training for Health System Reforms in ...

A project will improve the quality and quantity of Vietnam's health professionals at the commune level, especially in disadvantage areas.

Jul 13, 2017

Strong economy, positive medium term outlook

Report recognizes Vietnam’s economic strength and suggest policies to solidify macroeconomic resilience and address structural bottlenecks to growth.

May 22, 2014

Vietnam 2035 Report

The Government of Vietnam and the World Bank are conducting a joint study on how the country can achieve its objectives to become a modern nation that is wealthy and create room for all of its people to prosper toward ...

Energy Jul 12, 2016

Trung Son Hydropower Project: Meeting Growing Energy Demands

The project will add 1,055 GWh of electricity per year to the national grid, and creates job opportunities, provides basic services for more than 2,000 people in project areas.

Feb 7, 2012

Vietnam: Before and After World Bank-supported Projects

Vietnam has made progress in improving citizens’ lives through infrastructure and social services. Some results have been achieved through Bank-supported projects.

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Hanoi, +84.2439346600
8th Floor, 63 Ly Thai To, Hanoi, Vietnam
vietnam@worldbank.org
Washington, +1 202-473-4709
1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433
eastasiapacific@worldbank.org