HANOI, July 26, 2012 - The World Bank’s Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Pamela Cox, today congratulated Vietnam for its strong development achievements. On her first visit to Vietnam since being appointed Vice President in January, 2012, she also expressed support for acceleration of reforms which will enable the Vietnamese economy to become more competitive, grow further and reduce poverty more quickly.
During the trip, Cox met Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Vice President of the National Assembly, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, Nguyen Van Binh, Minister of Planning and Investment, Bui Quang Vinh, Minister of Finance Vuong Dinh Hue, and others to discuss Vietnam’s development challenges and opportunities.
“It’s been 20 years since I last worked in Vietnam, and I am very impressed with what the country has achieved. Poverty has dropped to 10 %, primary school enrollment is close to 100 % and nearly everyone has electricity,” said Cox. “Despite progress, stronger reforms are needed to reduce poverty. Restructuring of public investment, the financial sector and state-owned enterprises is critical to reduce risks to the economy and help Vietnam become a successful middle income country.”
The World Bank’s program in Vietnam has grown over the past four years with 52 active projects and programs. However, Cox said, the government is not using available financing quickly enough and she urged the government to accelerate the implementation of projects and programs to bring development results faster.
“Opportunities for the people, especially the poor and vulnerable, will increase if the Bank’s interest – free funding is used more efficiently. This will help more children enjoy higher quality education, more farmers reach their markets and more elderly receive better health services.” said Cox.
As part of her trip to Vietnam, Cox will visit a communal health station in Thua Thien Hue Province, built with World Bank funding through the Central North Region Health Support Project. The facility provides preventive health services for vulnerable people. She will also visit a forest plantation project in the same province. In Da Nang City, Ms. Cox will also stop at several urban infrastructure projects to talk to local residents.
The World Bank’s new Country Partnership Strategy for Vietnam (CPS) 2012 - 2016 supports three areas identified by the Government in its ten year Socio Economic Development Strategy 2011-2020: promoting human resources, improving market institutions, and advancing infrastructure development. It will support investments and policies (i) strengthening Vietnam's competitiveness in the regional and global economy, (ii) increasing the sustainability of its development, and (iii) broadening access to opportunity. The strategy also focuses on (i) strengthening governance, (ii) supporting gender equity, and (iii) improving resilience in the face of external economic shocks, natural hazards and the impact of climate change.