Vietnam to ease dependence on foreign aids: Deputy PM

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Vietnam will continue to improve its business environment and fully mobilize domestic and foreign resources as it aims to become an industrialized nation in 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said.

The country achieved its middle-income status in 2008 and its economy expanded by an average of 7.2 percent a year in the 2001-2010 period, Hai said Tuesday at an annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Hanoi.

Vietnam will need about US$300 billion for development programs between 2010-2015, he said.

As the country cannot keep depending on foreign aids and loans, it will have to try to attract more investment itself, Hai said, noting that Vietnam received a record official development assistance of nearly $8 billion last year.

He also added that the goal for the country is to safeguard macro-economic stability and sustainable growth through 2020.

According to a draft report unveiled at ADB's ongoing 44th Annual Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam would have a GDP per capita of $11,900 in 2030 and $33,800 in 2050. That compares to the current average income of $1,100 per year.

The report, titled "Asia 2050 Realizing the Asian Century," said an additional three billion Asians could enjoy higher living standards by 2050. It said as the global economy's center of gravity shifts toward Asia, the region could account for about half of global output in 2050, up from the current 27 percent.

ADB said on a purchasing power parity basis, GDP per capita in Asia could rise to US$38,600, compared with the projected 2050 global average of $36,600.

The Manila-based bank has listed Vietnam, together with other ecnonomies like China, India, Indonesia and Thailand, in a group of countries that has already demonstrated the ability to converge with the US and approach productivity levels in the US.

Middle income trap

However, ADB warned that in another scenario, these countries can fall into a middle income trap of slowing growth and stagnating income, unable to reach advanced country levels.

Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam share problems such as inadequate infrastructure and access to finance, an inadequately educated workforce and policy instability, the bank said. It also warned that traditional low-wage manufacturing export models do not work well for middle income countries.

"A majority of Asian economies including PRC (Peope's Republic of China), India, Indonesia, and Vietnam still have to demonstrate their ability to avoid this trap and the resulting slow growth experienced by much of Latin America," ADB said in the report.

The countries will need to manage the challenges of rapid urbanization, improve the efficiency of energy use and other natural resources.  They must transform their financial systems, and promote innovation and entrepreneurship to enhance competitiveness, ADB advised.

The ADB meeting, held in Vietnam for the first time, started Tuesday and ends Friday.

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