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Young entrepreneurs vital for advancement of ethnic minorities

Update: June, 17/2013 - 09:18
Social welfare activities attract a great number of young people from ethnic minorities..—Photo baocaobang

HCM CITY (VNS)— Ethnic minority youth are a key factor in helping reduce poverty among their communities in particular and the country in general, experts said at a meeting on Saturday in HCM City.

Titled "Poverty Reduction Among Ethnic Minority Communities: Impact of Young Entrepreneurs," the meeting was co-organized by the World Bank and Ton Duc Thang University's Institute for International Studies and Exchange.

Speakers at the meeting said support policies were necessary to enable the "incubation" of ethnic minority youth. The importance of financial support and investment in human resources was stressed.

Dang Le Nguyen Vu, chairman of the Trung Nguyen Coffee Group, said education was vital for encouraging ethnic minority youth to become entrepreneurs and contribute to the economic development of their communities.

"Education is not only knowledge but also a provider of motivation, inspiration, confidence and pride for the younger generation," he said.

Associate Professor Thanh Phan, deputy director of the Centre for Vietnamese and Southeast Asia Studies, said the ethnic minority youth should be provided with sufficient training and start-up opportunities to create broader and longer-term impacts in the community.

The Government has so far issued many policies and measures to support ethnic minority communities, but in this era of rapid growth and integration, "leverage measures" from within the ethnic minority community itself are needed, the meeting heard.

Ton Nu Thi Ninh, head of Ton Duc Thang University's Institute for International Studies and Exchange, said ethnic minority youth should be encouraged to develop a strong sense of identity and choose their career path, as well as actively participate in improving the living standards of their communities.

Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank's country director, said as a middle-income country, Viet Nam needs to deal with poverty comprehensively.

There's a need to establish close linkages between the youth, business associations and ethnic minority communities towards fostering mutual support to reduce poverty, she said.

Currently, two-thirds of the poorest people in Viet Nam belong to ethnic minority communities.

While the poverty rate among ethnic minority communities in Viet Nam has fallen by eight per cent over a five-year period, from 57.2 per cent in 2007 to 49.2 per cent in 2012, a large income gap persists between them and the ethnic majority community, the meeting heard. — VNS

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