Opening Remarks by Victoria Kwakwa
World Bank Country Director, Vietnam
At the Meeting of Consultative Group of Donors for Vietnam
June 9-10, 2009
Thank you very much Minister Vo Hong Phuc
- Excellency Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
- Minister Vo Hong Phuc
- Mr. Bui Ngoc Suong, Chairman of Kien Giang People’s Committee
- Colleagues, heads of development agencies
- Ladies and Gentlemen
- A very good morning to you all.
I join Minister Phuc in welcoming all of you to the 2010 MYCG in Rach Gia city, Kien Giang Province.
Excellency Prime Minister, I want to especially welcome you to this midyear CG in your native province of Kien Giang. 17 years ago, you were a Chairman of the People’s Committee of the province and that you have made a contribution to the progress of the province.
We are honoured to have you with us for this morning given the heavy schedule you have in Kien Giang. The fact that you have chosen to spend time with us reflects the strong partnership between Vietnam and its development partners and your personal commitment to continue to deepen and strengthen this partnership. We sincerely hope that you will find this time with us worth your while.
Mr. Suong, I want to thank you and the people of Rach Gia and indeed Kien Giang province for agreeing to host this midyear CC and hope that you also find your interaction with us over the next 2 days beneficial. We know the progress the province is making, and in particular your land acclamation successes. We thank you for the efforts you and the People’s Committee have put in to preparing this event. Thank you for hosting us to the dinner last night.
Thank you Minister Phuc for working closely with us. Thank also goes to the World Bank colleague who worked hard to put the logistics in place to have a smooth event.
We meet at an interesting time in Vietnam’s development—the country has just joined the group of MICs ahead of the target set in the last SEDP. We as your development partners heartily congratulate you, your Government and the people of Vietnam for this remarkable achievement.
At the same time, enormous challenges remain:
- from the unfinished low income country agenda—including ethnic minority poverty, quality of basic education and health services and water and sanitation access, especially in rural areas, and in rapidly expanding urban centers;
- and the emerging MIC agenda particularly as regards higher education and enhanced skills base, significantly scaling up infrastructure access and quality significantly including through finding innovative ways to finance major economic infrastructure.
- Then there are cross cutting challenges such as Climate Change, strengthening governance including the fight against corruption; and building a more open society.
- The climate change challenge is particularly significant in the Mekong Delta region where we are today.
- Overarching all of these is the need to continue Vietnam’s transition to a market economy with socialist orientation and achieve the objective of a modern efficient and competitive economy—and here strengthening modern institutions for upgrading completing the reform of the SOE sector are key.
The global context and environment will be more challenging and so the demand for success on all countries including Vietnam will also be greater.
PM as your development partners we see this as our challenge as well., and we will continue to find ways to make our support to Vietnam align with your objectives and as effective as possible.
This year is a critical year as Vietnam prepares the next 10 year development Strategy, and the next 5 year plan.
Your Excellency Prime Minister, we hope that this strategy and plan process will be used as an opportunity for Vietnam to clarify a bold vision and agenda for Vietnam’s future development and for addressing the many you still face challenges including those that I have just highlighted.
We believe that in this increasingly demanding global context such a bold vision is required for Vietnam to consolidate and build on its remarkable progress and avoiding being left behind. We also believe that having started bold reforms about 25 years ago, this is a good time to revisit how far you have gone in realizing the earlier vision, and recasting a new vision in light of the current opportunities and challenges. Fundamental questions such as the role of the state in the economy need to be reviewed at this more demanding global context.
The National Development Strategy and the Social Economic Development Plan which our meeting is focused lays out your plan for the decade. We hope that in our discussions today we your development partners can give frank, honest and useful suggestions on this, and about what could be key elements of a bold vision and plan going forward.
I want to highlight again, Prime Minister, our appreciation for the opportunity for all of us to discuss with your Government key development issues and to reassure you that this opportunity is not taken for granted.
We value it, approach it with a strong sense of responsibility and sincerity and hope that it does add value for you and the Government particularly as you continue work on the 10 year strategy and the five year plan.
I hope we can discuss openly, honestly and constructively, drawing on the trust and the goodwill that underpins our partnership.
As I have said in remarks at previous CGs, I hope we can all keep our interventions focused and succinct and allow the opportunity for real dialogue by giving each other a chance to be heard and by actively listening to others.
I look forward to very fruitful discussions today. Thank you.