Vietnam, Africa share experiences in sustainable development

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Vietnam and Africa are committed to fostering ties, especially in poverty reduction and agricultural development, officials announced Wednesday (August 18).

"Vietnam has been credited for its success in poverty eradication and we are willing to share these experiences with other African nations," said Deputy Foreign Minister Dao Xuan Hung at the conclusion of the second Vietnam-Africa forum on cooperation for sustainable development in Hanoi.

"Vietnam has made remarkable improvements in ensuring food security and becoming a major rice exporter," he said.

The forum, which attracted representatives from 46 African nations, covered Vietnam and Africa's cooperation in areas such as food security, agriculture, trade, investment and human resources development.

Though trade increased from about US$360 million in 2003 to $2.1 billion in 2009, Hung said a lack of information has prevented Vietnam and Africa from realizing their full potential.

According to a report published by the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization, at least 400 million hectares in 25 African countries are fertile enough to grow food crops but are untapped.

According to the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Vietnam has sent 2000 agriculture experts to Africa over the past 20 years. The advisors helped develop hundreds of new rice cultivation models and varieties for African villages and communes.

Victoria Kwakwa, country director for the World Bank in Vietnam, said the development of the country's economic and education sectors offers important lessons on how to achieve universal primary education by ensuring equity in education for different geographical areas and population groups.

"Vietnam's experience is indeed of particular interest to African countries," she said. "We're convinced that developing countries are fertile ground for sharing development experience and knowledge."

Vietnam now has diplomatic ties with more than 50 countries in Africa.

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