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World Bank offers $3.8b in soft loans to aid poverty alleviation

Update: July, 18/2014 - 09:06
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (centre) witnesses the signing ceremony for five new projects totalling US$876 million between Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam Nguyen Van Binh (right) and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam

HA NOI — The World Bank yesterday announced a plan to provide Viet Nam 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 Ha Noi yesterday during an official visit.

"This will help Viet Nam 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 Viet Nam, where he met Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Truong Tan Sang and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

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

The study will look at changes Viet Nam needs to make 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 Ha Noi, Dung witnessed Kim and Viet Nam central bank governor Nguyen Van Binh signed credit agreements for five new projects totalling $876 million.

Viet Nam 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 forecast that Viet Nam's GDP growth in 2014 would be around 5.4 per cent.

"Viet Nam 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.

In the meeting with Kim, Prime Minister Dung said he hoped the bank would focus on supporting Viet Nam in poverty reduction, especially for the ethnic minority, and plant forests in coastal areas, reduce the hospital overload and support fishermen.

Kim said he was impressed with Viet Nam's progress and said the bank would remain committed to supporting future development.

He added the bank wanted to further co-operate with Viet Nam in state-enterprise reform, public-private-partnership, climate change, new energy and social welfare.

At his meeting with President Sang, Kim said the bank would send financial experts to help Viet Nam use the new funding effectively and continue to work with the country in fields such as vocational training, health care, climate change and renewable energy.

At another meeting, Party General Secretary Trong proposed that the World Bank continue sharing international experience in reform, economic management, poverty reduction and socio-economic development. — VNS

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