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Vietnam has been a development success story. Economic reforms since the launch of Đổi Mới in 1986, coupled with beneficial global trends, have helped propel Vietnam from being one of the world’s poorest nations to a middle-income economy in one generation. Between 2002 and 2021, GDP per capita increased 3.6 times, reaching almost US$3,700. Poverty rates (US$1.90/day) declined sharply from over 32 percent in 2011 to below 2 percent.

Thanks to its solid foundations, the economy has proven resilient through different crises, the latest being COVID-19. Vietnam was one of only a few countries to post GDP growth in 2020 when the pandemic hit. GDP growth slowed down to 2.58 percent in 2021 due to the emergence of the Delta variant but is expected to rebound to 5.5 percent in 2022.

Health outcomes have improved along with rising living standards. Infant mortality rates fell from 32.6 per 1,000 live births in 1993 to 16.7 per 1,000 in 2020. Life expectancy rose from 70.5 to 75.4 years between 1990 and 2019, the highest in the region for countries at a similar income level. Vietnam’s universal health coverage index is at 73—higher than regional and global averages—with 87 percent of the population covered.

Access to infrastructure services has increased dramatically. As of 2019, 99.4 percent of the population used electricity as their main source of lighting, up from just 14 percent in 1993. Access to clean water in rural areas has also improved, up from 17 percent in 1993 to 51 percent in 2020.

Vietnam has grown bolder in its development aspirations, aiming to become a high-income country by 2045. To do this, the economy would have to grow at an annual average rate of around five percent per capita for the next 25 years. Vietnam also aims to grow in a greener, more inclusive way, and has committed to carbon neutrality by 2050.

A few megatrends are shaping the future of Vietnam. The country’s population is rapidly aging and global trade is declining. Environmental degradation, climate change, and the rise of automation are growing. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has accelerated these trends.

To rise up to these challenges and meet its development goals, Vietnam needs to dramatically improve its performance to implement policies  particularly in finance, environment, digital transformation, poverty/social protection, and infrastructure, according to the World Bank’s latest Systematic Country Diagnostic Update.

Last Updated: Apr 14, 2022


rural residents in Vietnam now have access to all-weather roads through the Second Rural Transport Project.


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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments
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Hanoi, Vietnam
63 Ly Thai To Street
+84 243-934-6600
Washington D.C., USA
1818 H Street NW
+1 202-473-4709