In 2006, Vietnam’s poverty rate was 18% with that the figure likely to be reduced to 15.1% by the end of this year.
The success has been attributed to the country’s high and stable economic growth as well as synchronous and effective implementation of poverty reduction measures.
During the 2001-2005 period, the country mobilised over VND 40 trillion (US $2.5 billion) from the State budget, organisations’ and individuals’ contribution and international aid for poverty fighting activities. The fund was allocated for social programmes in the areas of agriculture, health care, education, urban development, electricity, transport, labour and social insurance.
Nearly 97% of communes in special difficult circumstances area have had road networks improved and 64% of households now have access to electricity. About 90% of school-age ethnic minority children also regularly have attend school.
At present, the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) is implementing a national programme on poverty reduction in the 2006-2010 period with a goal of cutting down the rate of poor households to 10-11% by 2010.
With an investment capital of VND 43.5 trillion (US $2.7 billion), a 7% increase over the 2001-2005 period, the programme has provided vocational training and legal assistance for the poor and invested in developing coastal and island regions’ infrastructure.
John Hendra, United Nations Co-ordinator in Vietnam, said through such programmes, the Vietnamese government has once again affirmed its commitment to continue lowering the poverty rate in order to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other objectives.
The government’s commitment has received high praise and support from the international community. In September 2007, the WB pledged to give a US $175 million preferential credit to Vietnam’s 6th Poverty Reduction Support Credit Programme (PRSC 6).
The bank plans to increase its aid to the programme to US $200 million in the next phase, said Ajay Chhibber, WB Country Director in Vietnam.
Other donors, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Spain, Australia, Canada, Denmark, the UK, the European Commission (EC), Germany, Ireland, Japan and the Netherlands, pledged to provide US $190 million in total for the PRSC 6.
Especially, the EC plans to double its investment in the programme to EUR 27 million and assist Vietnam in human resource training, environmental protection and social security improvement.
With these actions, the EC wants to express its strong support for Vietnam’s 2006-2010 socio-economic development plan, said Willy Vanderberghe, Standing Counsellor of the EC delegation to Vietnam.