Overview

  • Vietnam’s development over the past 30 years has been remarkable. Economic and political reforms under Đổi Mới, launched in 1986, have spurred rapid economic growth, transforming what was then one of the world’s poorest nations into a lower middle-income country. Between 2002 and 2018, more than 45 million people were lifted out of poverty. Poverty rates declined sharply from over 70% to below 6% (US$3.2/day PPP), and GDP per capita increased by 2.5 times, standing over US$2,500 in 2018.

    In the medium-term, Vietnam’s economic outlook is positive, despite signs of cyclical moderation in growth. After peaking at 7.1% in 2018, real GDP growth in 2019 is projected to slightly decelerate in 2019, led by weaker external demand and continued tightening of credit and fiscal policies. Real GDP growth is projected to remain robust at around 6.5% in 2020 and 2021. Annual headline inflation has been stable for the seven consecutive years – at single digits, trending towards 4% and below in recent years. The external balance remains under control and should continue to be financed by strong FDI inflows which reached almost US$18 billion in 2018 – accounting for almost 24% of total investment in the economy.

    Vietnam is experiencing rapid demographic and social change. Its population reached 97 million in 2018 (up from about 60 million in 1986) and is expected to expand to 120 million before moderating around 2050. Today, 70% of the population is under 35 years of age, with a life expectancy of 76 years, the highest among countries in the region at similar income levels. But the population is rapidly aging. And an emerging middle class, currently accounting for 13% of the population, is expected to reach 26% by 2026.

    Vietnam ranks 48 out of 157 countries on the human capital index (HCI), second in ASEAN behind Singapore. A Vietnamese child born today will be 67% as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health. Vietnam’s HCI is highest among middle-income countries, but there are some disparities within the country, especially for ethnic minorities. There would also be a need to upgrade the skill of the workforce to create productive jobs at a large scale in the future.

    Over the last thirty years, the provision of basic services has significantly improved. Access of households to modern infrastructure services has increased dramatically. As of 2016, 99% of the population used electricity as their main source of lighting, up from 14 % in 1993. Access to clean water in rural areas has also improved, up from 17% in 1993 to 70% in 2016, while that figure for urban areas is above 95%.

    Vietnam performs well on general education. Coverage and learning outcomes are high and equitably achieved in primary schools — evidenced by remarkably high scores in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2012 and 2015, where the performance of Vietnamese students exceeds that of many OECD countries. Health outcomes have improved in tandem with rising living standards. Between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio fell from 139 to 54 deaths per 100,000 live births, and infant mortality dropped from 44 deaths per 1,000 live births to 16.7. Vietnam’s universal health coverage index is at 73 - higher than regional and global averages - with 87% of the population covered.

    In Vietnam, however, rapid growth and industrialization have not been friendly to the environment and natural assets. Final energy consumption tripled over the past decade, growing faster than output. Energy intensity of GDP has been steadily increasing. Demand for water continues to increase, while water productivity is low, about 12 percent of global benchmarks. Unsustainable exploitation of natural assets such as sand, fisheries and timber could negatively affect potential for future and long-term growth. Compounding the problem is the reality that much of Vietnam’s population and economy is highly vulnerable to climate impacts.

    Urbanization and strong economic and population growth are causing rapidly increasing waste management and pollution challenges. Waste generation in Vietnam is expected to double in less than 15 years. Linked to this is the issue of marine plastics. Ninety percent of global marine plastic pollution is estimated to come from just 10 in-land rivers, and the Mekong river is one of them. Vietnam is among the ten countries worldwide that are most affected by air pollution. Water pollution has significant costs on productivity of key sectors and human health.

    The Government is aware of the need to lower the environmental footprint of the country’s growth, to effectively mitigate and adapt to climate change, and that addressing these challenges also present opportunities to contribute to growth. Key strategies and plans to stimulate green growth and sustainable use of its natural assets are in place. The Government is also implementing measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change and address extreme weather events and natural disasters by operationalizing its Nationally Determined Contribution. The Government is also seriously assessing how to urgently address water and air pollution, marine plastics and need for solid waste management.

    Last Updated: Oct 18, 2019

  • The current 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 and building on the priorities identified and 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 priority areas:

    • Enable inclusive growth and private sector participation;
    • Invest in people and knowledge;
    • Ensure environmental sustainability and resilience;
    • Governance.

    Building on the World Bank Group’s continued strong engagement in Vietnam, the CPF introduces a number of strategic shifts that will guide the Group’s work going forward:

    • 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 livelihood and income generation activities;
    • Multisector engagements to strengthen linkages between education and the labor market; and
    • Promote and stimulate low carbon energy generation.

    The World Bank Group conducted a Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of the CPF in early 2019. It confirmed the relevance of the current CPF, aligned with the government of Vietnam’s development objectives and demand for WBG support. It also broadened engagements to improve the welfare and development of ethnic minority groups and implementation of Vietnam’s Nationally Determined Contributions to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

    Achievement of the objectives set forth in the CPF results framework are largely on track, following the implementation of a large WB lending portfolio that includes many projects approved under IDA18 and IBRD, strong International Finance Corporation (IFC) performance, and the implementation of a comprehensive Advisory Services and Analytics (ASA) portfolio supporting and informing key policy and reform areas.

    Last Updated: Oct 18, 2019

  • As Vietnam transitions to a market-based economy, its partnership with the World Bank since 1993 has yielded notable results.

    As of September 23, 2019, the Bank has provided US$24.44 billion in grants, credits and concessional loans to Vietnam through 168 operations. Vietnam's existing portfolio consists of 44 active projects, with total net commitments of US$8.3 billion. In addition, Vietnam benefits from a large and diverse portfolio of Advisory Services and Analytics (ASA), with 44 currently active tasks. Many ASA engagements leverage country-level partnerships and trust funds from key development partners.

    Sustainable Development

    Vietnam has been pursuing reforms and investments that aim to promote green growth and address its high vulnerability to climate change. The World Bank has supported Vietnam in promoting this sustainability agenda across various sectors.

    Through the Climate Change and Green Growth Development Financing, the World Bank made a strong contribution to the climate change and green growth reform agenda. One pillar helped improve inter-sectoral coastal planning and mainstream climate change into public investment across selected key sectors. In addition, policies supported under this program helped promote the uptake of water-efficient irrigation practices and technologies and prompted provinces to establish protection corridors for main water sources. Reforms brought about by this program also contributed to improved energy efficiency of household appliances and increased investment in renewable energy, particularly solar.

    The Coastal Resources for Sustainable Development introduced tools and practices for better fisheries management by authorities and fishermen alike, along eight coastal provinces in Vietnam. Between 2012 and 2018, the project supported 40 coastal districts and 257 coastal communes to shift from fragmented sectoral planning to an integrated spatial planning for co-management of fisheries. The project also assisted 13,000 fishermen in adopting good aquaculture practices with the introduction of new eco-friendly technologies, while helping to improve the biosecurity infrastructure in which they operate.

    The US$320-million Vietnam Renewable Energy Development project introduced some of the first large-scale deployments of renewable energy into Vietnam’s power mix, which has significantly expanded today accounting for nearly 10% of Vietnam’s power generation capacity. The project began in 2009, when renewable energy was still a new concept in Vietnam and provided early-stage investment and technical support to build the requisite capacity and incentives among all stakeholders for scaled-up development. New policy instruments were put in place, notably Power Purchase Agreements avoiding the cost tariff formula. In addition, 19 new small hydropower plants were built with a total capacity of 320MW, which supplied an annual volume of 1,260GWh. All these plants met new environmental and social best practices, setting examples for others to follow.

    Environmental Protection

    The Vietnam Industrial Pollution Management Project has significantly improved compliance with industrial wastewater treatment regulations in four of the most industrialized provinces in Vietnam. Between 2012 and 2018, the percentage of industrial zones compliant with wastewater treatment regulations increased from less than 30% to 72%. During the same period, the percentage of those with a centralized effluent treatment plant installed on-site increased from 60% to 98%. This is significant given a 26.4%-increase in the number of industrial zones and an alarming fact that at a national level, it was estimated that 70% of water discharged from IZs were untreated.

    At the project closure in August 2019, the Vietnam Hospital Waste Management Support Project helped reduce the healthcare wastewater and solid waste by 30% and 33%. The project financed the instalment of waste treatment system in 218 hospitals spreading 55 cities and provinces. The project also contributed to strengthening the legal framework for medical waste management in Vietnam.

    Urban Development

    The US$300-million Mekong Delta Region Urban Upgrading Project has elevated low-income, low-lying areas into truly livable urban spaces in six cities of the Mekong Delta Region. At the time of closure in 2018, the six-year project improved the living conditions of about 625,000 direct beneficiaries by upgrading basic infrastructure. Some other two million indirectly benefited from the city-wide infrastructure improvements and the new social facilities. The long-term benefits go beyond the life cycle of the project. The total whole-life quantifiable benefits are estimated at approximately US$724 million in terms of saving in healthcare costs, productive time, flood control damage, as well as increase in land prices.

    Human Capital

    Vietnam joined the Human Capital Project in 2019 with a two-pronged objective: (i) improve nutrition, access to quality secondary education and beyond, and transitions to good jobs for ethnic minorities and (ii) enhance workforce development for a changing economy. The World Bank has supported Vietnam in reforming the educational system at all levels. The US$100-million School Readiness Promotion Project, for example, helped increase the access to full-day preschool to 84% of five-year-old children in 2015  from 66% in 2011. The quality of preschool instruction improved through the introduction of a child-centered learning approach for 250,000 ECE teachers. The Bank also provides strategic advice for Vietnam on how to prepare its workforce for future jobs.

    Poverty Reduction

    Vietnam has made great strides in reducing poverty and improving quality of life for millions. The World Bank has worked closely with Vietnam in those early days and continues to do so to address the last miles in poverty eradication as approximately 8 million of Vietnamese people still lived with less than US$3.2 per day in 2018. The Second Northern Mountains Poverty Reduction Project, implemented in six mountainous provinces in the poorest region of Vietnam during 2010-2018, exemplifies this productive partnership. The project, with an IDA commitment of US$245 million, aimed at enhancing the living standards of ethnic minorities by improving their access to productive infrastructure, building capacity of local governments and communities, and promoting market linkages and business innovations. The project, which benefited 192,000 households and resulted in a 16% increase in incomes, provided good lessons for Government of Vietnam to revise its poverty reduction policy and approach.

    Governance Reforms

    Improving the efficiency and integrity of the public sector is a priority for the World Bank in Vietnam. The World Bank is supporting Vietnam’s Office of the Government (OOG) in its efforts to strengthen the delivery mechanisms in administrative procedures and e-government reforms during the 2018-2020 period. In February, the Bank and OOG conducted a readiness assessment to ascertain the potential for digital government development in Vietnam. Earlier, the Bank conducted a ground-breaking study to put conflict–of–interest issues into perspective in Vietnam. The growing likelihood of conflicts of interest resulting from greater interactions between the public and private sectors highlights the need for the country to better understand and effectively manage this issue.

    Last Updated: Oct 18, 2019

Api


LENDING

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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments



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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