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Inclusive growth key to overall human development progress

Update: February, 05/2016 - 16:04
Viet Nam needs to improve the quality and access to pre-primary, higher education and vocational training, and undertake a comprehensive evaluation of socialisation reforms. — Photo nld.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — An inclusive growth path – rapid, sustainable growth that leaves no one behind – is key to achieving overall progress in human development, according to the Vietnam Human Development Report 2015 released on February 5.

The report finds that at the national level, Viet Nam's performance in terms of human development has been impressive over the last 35 years but progress varied at times and has slowed down in recent years.

In the late 1980s, poor performance on the human development index – which measures aggregate achievement in terms of income, education and health – caused a gap to open up between Viet Nam and countries with similar development levels.

The index rapidly increased later and Viet Nam was a star performer from 1990-2000 but the gap was not closed. In the years since the 2008 global financial crisis, Viet Nam's performance levelled off.

The 2015 report finds that all provinces made positive progress but this was not even, with some performing much better than others. Those that did best experienced balanced development.

Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang city recorded high levels of human development comparable to Poland or Croatia. Meanwhile, poor provinces like Ha Giang and Lai Chau were estimated as having human development levels similar to Guatemala and Ghana.

The report also identifies "rising stars" such as Hau Giang, Tien Giang, Binh Phuoc, Thai Nguyen and Phu Yen provinces where development was exceptional, and "static stones" such as Ha Nam, Nghe An, Phu Tho and Ha Tinh provinces, where progress was slower.

According to the authors, to expand productive employment, Viet Nam needs to maintain macroeconomic stability, increase economic efficiency, and enhance connectivity and technological readiness as well as nurturing innovation.

To improve the education and health care systems, the country needs to improve the quality and access to pre-primary, higher education and vocational training, and undertake a comprehensive evaluation of socialisation reforms.

To renovate the social protection system, the report suggests Viet Nam secure a floor level of cover – via universal health insurance; a self-financed social insurance system; and expanded social assistance based on Life Cycle entitlements.

"Viet Nam's renewed development success rests on it building an inclusive and equitable economy – and the route to this lies in full employment based on decent jobs, and opportunity and security for all," said UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Pratibha Mehta.

She noted the need to focus both on the poor and the vulnerable lower middle income group - whose incomes are not substantially above the poverty line, who typically work in informal jobs, are urban migrants or small scale farmers.

"Their opportunities for advancement and protections are limited. They are also underutilised, their inclusion and productivity is vital to Viet Nam's development success," she said. — VNS

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