The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has endorsed its new assistance strategy to Vietnam for the period 2007-10, including a plan to provide US$3bn in 2007-09.


The new strategy of ADB closely follows the government’s Socio Economic Development Plan (SEDP) 2006-10 approved this year that envisages the total investment needs during this five-year period to be US$140bn-US$150bn.


“We would like to support the government’s new economic development plan,” says Ayumi Konishi, country director for ADB’s resident mission in Vietnam. “We very much appreciate that the plan was developed through an open, consultative process. Vietnam has been successful in reducing poverty through strong growth and we are happy to support the government’s own strategy.”


ADB’s new assistance strategy focuses on business-led, pro-poor economic growth that is supported by social equity, balanced development, and environmental sustainability. The plan also stresses the need to support the improvement of governance and control corruption. In addition, the strategy points out the need to make contributions to regional cooperation, whenever possible.


In order to support business-led, pro-poor growth, the plan also calls on ADB to help improve infrastructure, develop a business-enabling environment, offer financial intermediation, and support secondary education.


Projects amounting to US$3bn are expected during 2007-09, supplemented by assistance to regional projects and private sector operations. Assistance under ADB’s concessional loan facility, the Asian Development Fund, is expected to increase from the current US$220mn a year to about US$300mn a year.


“A key feature of this new strategy is that we will try to be most flexible in responding to the changing needs of Vietnam through the combination of many different approaches,” Konishi adds


As of the end of 2005, ADB operations in Vietnam have included 55 public sector loans totalling US$3.5bn, 178 technical assistance grants totaling US$120mn, and seven private sector projects amounting to US$337mn.


Vietnam was among ADB’s founding members in 1966 and cooperation has progressed steadily since operations resumed in 1993 after pausing for about 23 years.