HANOI, April 26, 2011 – Vietnam Government’s efforts to reduce poverty among disadvantaged groups will receive further support through a US$50 million interest-free credit approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.
The credit is the last in a series of three policy operations which has contributed to successful reforms implemented by the Government under its “Program for Socio-Economic Development in Communes Facing Extreme Hardship in Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Areas”, popularly known as P135-2. The final credit will support remaining policy reforms to strengthen implementation, particularly at sub-national levels, as well as enhance the sustainability of the reforms.
The program, one of Vietnam’s National Targeted Programs for poverty reduction, was in operation from 2006-2010 supporting socio-economic development in 1644 of the country’s poorest communes and 2500 poorest villages. It achieved progress on (i) more decentralized decision making from provinces to districts and communes as investment owners, (ii) greater empowerment and participation of local communities, (iii) higher budget allocations for operations and maintenance (iv) measures in place for improved transparency and fiduciary safeguards, (v) improved monitoring and evaluation systems and tools, (vi) improved policy dialogue forum on poverty reduction for ethnic minorities, and (vii) a shift in focus from infrastructure investments to livelihoods support.
“Besides its achievements in contributing to poverty reduction, Program 135-2 has also provided a unique platform for development partners to join efforts in supporting a programmatic reform agenda”, said Victoria Kwakwa, Country Director for the World Bank in Vietnam. “It has highlighted the importance of reforms to empower beneficiaries and improve transparency for the success of targeted poverty reduction programs”
Resources for this credit come from the World Bank’s concessional lending arm, the International Development Association, or IDA, which provides credits and grants to the world’s poorest countries.