I would like to thank the Vietnamese people and Vietnamese leaders once again for the warm welcome and hospitality they have extended to me. It’s wonderful to be back here in Hanoi.
This morning, the Government of Vietnam and the World Bank Group launched the Vietnam 2035 report, a study that outlines a series of recommendations to help Vietnam become a modern and industrialized nation by 2035.
Vietnam is a remarkable development success story. In a short time, the country has charted a course of rapid, inclusive growth, delivering higher living standards for the majority of its people. The country’s extreme poverty rate has declined from 50 percent in the early 1990s to 3 percent today. On several non-income welfare measures, Vietnam is on par with countries with much higher levels of income. Only a handful of countries can boast of similar achievements.
How did Vietnam do it? A combination of strong leadership, good governance, a sense of common purpose, and a strong vision for the future were critical. Also important were a reliance on markets to allocate resources, and active engagement with the world on trade, investment, and knowledge flows.
Now, Vietnam’s goal—as written into the Constitution—is “a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable, and civilized country.”
The Vietnam 2035 report lays out a path forward. It describes a policy and institutional agenda that stands on three pillars: First, to balance economic prosperity with environmental sustainability; second, to promote equity and social inclusion; and third, to bolster government capacity and accountability.
The report emphasizes the importance of increasing labor productivity growth to rapid development and suggests ways to achieve it. These include enhancing the competitiveness of domestic enterprises; reaping the benefits of urbanization; nurturing a creative and innovation-led economy; and addressing environmental stresses.
The report also offers policy options to make further progress in promoting equity and social inclusion, including targeting assistance to marginalized groups like ethnic minorities and delivering quality public services to an aging and urbanizing middle-class society.
Finally, the report recognizes that to meet Vietnam’s vision for 2035, its institutions of governance will need to become modern, transparent, and fully rooted in the rule of law.
Let me thank the Ministry of Planning and Investment as well as outside experts who were our partners in putting together this excellent Vietnam 2035 report. Thank you. I am happy to answer your questions.