Jul 21, 2014

Vietnam - World Bank offers $3.8B in soft loans for poverty alleviation in Vietnam

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The World Bank yesterday announced a plan to provide Vietnam with more than US$3.8 billion in concessional financing over the next three years.

Bank president Jim Yong Kim announced this at a press conference in Hanoi yesterday during an official visit.

"This will help Vietnam continue to invest in improving the lives of the Vietnamese people, including the extreme poor," Kim said.

The World Bank chief was on a two-day visit to Vietnam, where he met Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Truong Tan Sang and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

Also yesterday, the bank and Vietnam agreed to conduct a joint study to recommend policy actions to increase economic growth in Vietnam.

The study will look at changes Vietnam needs to boost trade and competitiveness and improve the business and investment climate to attract more foreign and domestic money.

Prime Minister Dung said the study would support the country's strategy to improve people's lives.

In Hanoi, Dung witnessed Kim and Vietnam central bank governor Nguyen Van Binh sign credit agreements for five new projects totalling $876 million.

Vietnam has made remarkable progress in reducing poverty in recent years. The poverty rate has dropped from almost 60 per cent in the 1990s to less than 10 per cent today.

Growth has averaged 6.4 per cent annually for the past decade, but began to slow recently. The World Bank recently projected that Vietnam's GDP (gross domestic product) growth in 2014 would be about 5.4 per cent.

"Vietnam can return to higher rates of growth if it makes the bold reforms needed in the financial sector and in State-owned enterprises with greater transparency and accountability," Kim said.

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