HA NOI — The European Union (EU) will remain one of the leading providers of development assistance to Viet Nam with a total of US$1.01 billion in official development assistance this year, Ambassador and Head of EU delegation to Viet Nam Franz Jessen said.
Speaking at the launch of the Blue Book 2012, the EU's annual report on Viet Nam's economic situation this morning, Jessen said the ODA support from other donors would decrease in the next several years due to impacts of the global economic crisis as well as Viet Nam becoming a middle-income country.
Thus, the support, US$324 million of which was grant money, highlighted the importance of the Viet Nam-EU relationship and should be used for Viet Nam's sustainable development.
Jessen said although the country's economic growth rates were impressive with millions of people coming out of poverty, the quality of growth became a concern after challenges such as inequality, high and persistent poverty rates among ethnic minorities, environmental degradation, and the effects of climate change emerged.
The book, which focused on ‘green growth', would help Viet Nam re-direct socio-economic programmes and secure new investments and jobs that ensure inclusive growth and efficient resource utilisation, he said.
Green growth, to quote from the book, means investing in the environment to drive economic growth.
Through green growth, the value of Viet Nam's products and services increases, international markets can be accessed, clean technologies develop at reduced costs to the environment, and climate change's impact is mitigated. Viet Nam is on its way to become a modern industrialised country by 2020.
Currently, Viet Nam is embarking on restructuring its economic activities with a focus on green strategies.
The 14th edition of the Blue Book, a yearly publication by the EU, provided an overview of Viet Nam's economic policies and co-operation between the country and the EU in 2011.
The EU- Viet Nam Partnership and Co-operation Agreement will be signed this year. Negotiations of a bilateral free trade agreement between both sides will soon commence.
The EU is currently Viet Nam's second most active trading partner with Viet Nam's exports to the EU having increased by 33.5 per cent last year. — VNS