Australia pledges 8.2 pct increase in aids for Vietnam

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The Australian government will provide AUD137.9 million (US$146 million) in official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, an increase of 8.2 percent from the previous year.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Allaster Cox, told the media Wednesday that the increased funding reflected Australia's long-term commitment to Vietnam's poverty reduction and sustainable development programs.

Australia's 2011-2012 fiscal year will begin on July 1, 2011 and conclude on the 30th June, 2012.

The money will be used for projects to improve Vietnam's integration into the world economy as well as citizens' access to basic services like fresh water supply, promote better hygiene and upgrade roads, Cox said.

One of the major projects that will us the ODA funds is the $169 million Cao Lanh Bridge to be built over the Tien River in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.

The Australian government will also give 245 scholarships to Vietnamese students during the coming fiscal year, the ambassador said.

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