Vietnam’s development record over the past 30 years is amazing. Rapid economic growth and development were spurred by fiscal and political reforms under Đổi Mới, which was launched in 1986. As a result, it transformed Vietnam from one of the world’s poorest nations to a middle-income country. It is impossible to cover every aspect of this outstanding journey comprehensively. However, let’s take a look at some critical points highlighting Vietnam’s development.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit 2017, held from Nov 8 to Nov 10 in Da Nang, is an example of how much Vietnam has progress in the past few decades. In 1998, Vietnam became a member of the group and has hosted 2 annual APEC summits, which charts a course for Asia-Pacific economies, once in 2006 and the above-mentioned 2017.
Vietnam is now one of the world's fastest-growing economies, and is deeply integrated globally in the fields of education and business, among others. Learning outcomes are high and equitably achieved in primary school as proven by remarkably high scores in the Program for International Student Assessment, where the performance of Vietnamese students exceeds that of many countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. In terms of GDP, Vietnam’s per capita growth rate has been among the quickest in the world since 1990 and the government aims for expansions averaging between 6.5% and 7.0% over the 2016 to 2020 period. In the meantime, the country's per-capita income has risen from US$471 in 2001 to US$2,300 in 2016.
“Vietnam’s economy is performing well, propelled by the sustained global recovery and continued domestic reforms. Robust growth is boosting job creation and income growth, leading to broad-based welfare gains and poverty reduction." said the World Bank in an overview of the country.
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The Vietnamese government has played an important role in driving growth and modernizing the economy as evidenced by the gradual decline in contribution from the agriculture sector to the overall economy, while those from the services and industrial production sectors have been climbing. The economy's growth is underpinned by sound fundamentals, including a considerable and relatively youthful domestic market of 96 million people, an abundance of natural resources, political stability, and an open economy that has signed many free-trade deals such as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC); Vietnam-Japan Free Trade Agreement; EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
This reception to trade has helped boost its exports, which hit an average growth rate of 18 per cent over the last 10 years. Concurrently, the country has become more conducive to investment from conglomerates as shown in 2010, when Intel opened its biggest chip testing and assembly facility costing US$1 billion in Vietnam.
Vietnam is committed to implementing further reforms to its economy moving forward, focusing on improving market institutions, infrastructure development and boosting its technological capabilities to stay competitive. With Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stating recently that the expectation and wish of Vietnam is to cooperate with APEC economies to stride forward in this digital age, the future certainly looks bright and booming.