Hanoi, October 19th, 2010 – The World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, Ms. Inger Andersen, completed a three-day official visit to Vietnam today after meetings with senior representatives of the Government of Vietnam. Ms. Andersen had spent the previous two days visiting the Mekong Delta and meeting with provincial and city leaders there to see first-hand the development challenges and opportunities in the region.
“These past three days have confirmed what I had been told: that Vietnam has made, and continues to make, impressive development progress that is enabling the poor to move out of poverty and toward prosperity,” said Ms. Andersen. “The country’s priorities are in harmony with the way in which the World Bank looks at development, by focusing on the triple bottom line of growth: ensuring economic, social, and environmental benefits that are shared by all.”
In Hanoi, Ms. Andersen met with the Honorable Vo Hong Phuc, Minister of Planning and Investment, to exchange views on priorities in sustainable development, as well as to discuss the Government’s next five-year social-economic development plan and its expectations of the Bank as Vietnam enters middle income country status and begins the transition from IDA to IBRD. Ms. Andersen also met with two Deputy Ministers of Industry and Trade, Mr. Hoang Quoc Vượng and Mr. Tran Tuan Anh to discuss how best to develop energy to meet the growing demands of the country while at the same time ensuring efficiency and environmental sustainability.
In Ca Mau province, Ms. Andersen met with officials from the Ministry of Transport and the Ca Mau Provincial People’s Committee, and spoke at the inauguration ceremony of the Ganh Hao 2 bridge on the last section of the backbone of National Highway 1. The expansion of the bridge to two spans, financed by the World Bank, removes a serious traffic bottleneck in the region, cutting road travel times by hours and permitting easier flows of cars and trucks.
“Today, it is easier, quicker, and cheaper for farmers to go to the market, for children to go to school, for workers to get to their factories, for goods to arrive in stores, and for the poor to benefit directly,” said Ms. Andersen in a speech at the inauguration.
Later in the day, Ms. Andersen met with government officials of Bac Lieu province, as well as visiting sluice gates and a coastal zone management project to see reforested mangroves and the resettlement site in Hai Ngu commune, Vinh Chau district, Soc Trang province under the World Bank-funded Coastal Wetland Protection and Development Project. 4,662 ha of mangrove forest has been planted, resulting in more than 95% of the formerly barren areas in the protected zones being reforested. Nearly 1,500 poor households were relocated to modern settlements with schools, clinics, roads, electricity, and new homes, improving living standards and social and economic opportunities.
In Can Tho City, Ms. Andersen met with the Chairman and other leaders of the Can Tho People’s Committee to discuss how urban cities such as Can Tho can continue to grow and reduce poverty while also taking into account the impacts of climate change. The Sustainable Development Vice President also discussed trade and logistic issues with authorities of the port of Can Tho. Later, she took part in a seminar at Can Tho University dedicated to the challenges of water resources management, along with researchers from the South Institute for Water Resources Planning and the Cuu Long Rice Research Institute.
“In many ways,” said Ms. Andersen at the completion of her visit, “Vietnam can serve as an inspiration to other countries who are confronting similar challenges: how to put in place sustainable and inclusive rural and urban development policies that incorporate emerging risks in climate change and other sectors, while allowing the poor to benefit. The World Bank is proud to have accompanied Vietnam on its growth path and looks forward to a continued relationship to support the government in its development objectives."