Vietnam has obtained substantial socio-economic development since it carried out the Doi Moi (Renewal) process in 1986, said Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh.
He noted Vietnam has made the transition from an underdeveloped economy to a middle income nation with an average economic growth rate of 7% per year (between 1986 and 2011).
It slowed down in 2011-12 due to the global economic recession, but showed signs of steady recovery in 2013, with GDP rising to 5.4% and estimated to expand to 6% in 2014.
The country’s poverty reduction rate dropped from 58% in the early 90s to just 7.8% in 2013.
According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)’s human development report (HDR) in 2013, Vietnam was one of 40 developing countries to have exceeded expectations in human development, with its index increasing 41% over the past two decades.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) reported that nearly 31 million people in Vietnam use the Internet, accounting for around 34% of the country’s population, and ranking third in Southeast Asia and eighth in Asia.
Despite the negative impact of the global economic slowdown, Vietnam has managed to accelerate social welfare programmes, testifying to the country’s determination to promote economic growth whilst ensuring social equality and progress.
In the 2011-2020 socio-economic development strategy, the Vietnamese Party and Government show their strong commitment to strengthening the Renewal process, focusing on three major breakthroughs – completing the market economy institution, developing highly qualified human resources and modernising infrastructure – with the aim of transforming Vietnam into a modern industrialised country by 2020.
To obtain sustainable growth, Vietnam has no choice but to accelerate economic reform and renovate the growth model, with priority given to quality, efficiency and competitiveness.
The target will be realized only when socio-economic development must go along with environmental protection, cultural development, and social equality and progress.
Humanity is the key factor behind development. The State must ensure human rights and create optimum conditions for people to stimulate their creativity and comprehensive development.
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark emphasised that Vietnam has many advantages, including a young labour force, abundant natural resources and its prime geographical location at the centre of a dynamic development region.
Vietnam should choose an inclusive and sustainable growth model in the reform process, she suggested, pledging the UNDP’s strong support for Vietnam’s reform efforts.
Clark said Vietnam should implement measures to improve labour productivity and quality in agricultural and seafood production. The country should focus on sectors with higher added values to create set up new competitive advantages in the region and the wider world.
Last but not least, she recommended Vietnam reform its social welfare systems, invest in risk and disaster mitigation, climate change adaptation, and allocate public resources in a clear and fair manner.
After the opening ceremony, the conference continued to discuss the importance of inclusive growth, relations between unequal economic growth and economic institutions, and priorities in balancing short-term macro-economic stability and short and medium term institutional reform.