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Country Analysis of Vietnam

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Economic Development Indicators

Vietnam experienced fierce wars between 1950 and 1970 and a period of low economic growth in the 1970’s (Hixson, 178). However, following the unification process of 1975, two five-year programs were enforced with the aim of building and developing Vietnam’s economy. During the implementation of the plan, the economy experienced a slow growth in spite of the adoption of mechanism aimed at solving issues  caused by the existence of old economic tools (Campagna,40).These mechanisms were applied in accordance to the “Doi Moi” policy since the beginning of 1986.  

In a bid to develop transform the Vietnam’s economy to a market based economy; the government of Vietnam instituted significant reforms in areas of agriculture by shifting from a cooperative run system to output contract system. This increased the agricultural output. Reforms were undertaken in 1985 on pricing, money and salaries. (Rondinelli and Ilene, 20). These reforms were meant to manage the market prices of goods in the public sector by increasing the remuneration of the workers. Nonetheless, Vietnam had an inflation rate of 775 percent during in 1986 arousing the need of renovating the economy (Hall, 277).

According to Leung, Vietnam moved into a period characterized by “growth and development” leaving behind a history of decline and economic hardships (p.6).Since then, Vietnam has made progress and improved diplomatic relationship with countries like the US. Vietnam applied for admittance into Word Trade Organization and Asia-Pacific Economic Forum Cooperation Forum in 1995. Through the execution of several economic renovations, Vietnam has managed to overcome socio-economic challenges and thus establishing basis for “entering the industrialization age” (IBP, 54).

The World Bank classifies Vietnam in the middle income category. Vietnam is regarded to be having a transition economy in Asia-Pacific region. Leung affirms that Vietnam’s transition to a market based economy has been considered as the most intense in the world economic history. This follows the decline of inflation rate from hundreds to an average of 12% and was paralleled by an increasing value of real GDP (p.6). Vietnam successfully achieved consistent high values of GDP growth for the past ten years. This has successful help deal with the issue of poverty in Vietnam. According to Burnside and Dollar, an improvement of countries overall GDP per capita produces a surrounding that is conducive to poverty diminution and thus circuitously assisting poor in the society (p. 7). Vietnams GDP growth is outlined below.

From the work banks statistics, Vietnam has had an increasing rate of GNI per capita reaching 890 in the year 2008. Vietnam also experienced high value of GDP growth (annual) between 1992 and 1995; however the values fluctuated but can still be considered high. Vietnam has experienced increase in direct investment too, with values soaring each year. (World Bank Statistics).

Poverty alleviation

According to Leonard, Vietnam government has put efforts to address the issue of poverty as early as 1997 when it declared a seven-point poverty alleviation scheme that focused on the amelioration of competitiveness, strengthening the banking and management of economic. According to the IMF, Vietnam has “succeeded in maintaining political and social stability and made many important achievements in economic growth, hunger eradication and poverty alleviation” (p. 55).

Nevertheless there still exist challenges in other section of the economy that require the attentions of the government. Looking at the indicators, the statistics from World Bank, Vietnam’s GDP’s per person employed has been on the rise over years. Vietnam has also had substantial improvement in the employment to population ration as depicted by the fall from 62 in 1990 and 60 in 2008. Improvement of these sectors of the millennium development goals has positioned Vietnam in a better place to fight poverty. The Vietnam government stepped up its fight against poverty by initiating significant alleviation programs such as the Hunger Eradication and Poverty Alleviation Program (Pham, 94).

With Vietnam’s population of proportion of the working-age remaining high, there is sign that poverty can be eradicated due to the lowering of dependence rate and increase in productivity of the citizens. Vietnams increasing growth rate of GDP per person employed reveals that the number of productive people is on the rise, and such people possess the ability to access services and goods that make their lives better and in the long run reduce poverty.

Population Growth

While Vietnam has suffered decades of war, such as the Indochina War when it fought France and the Second Indochina between itself and the US, its population growth continued to be on the rise from 1960 to 1975 with a slight figure of over 3 % yearly. (Ashwill and Ngoc, 13). The end of the Vietnam War in 1975 resulted in a child boom that escalated the population growth to an uncontrollable level which forced the government to implement directives such as the two-child-only. This policy was crucial in keeping the growth of population under control.

From the population graph above, it can be noted that Vietnam’s population is continually on the rise and it projected to increase in the future. The increase of population can be attributed to the government’s commitment in providing substantial heath care services to its population as well as the prevalence of high fertility rate (Barry, Levy and Victor, 326). The Vietnam’s population growth rate is expected to remain   at 2.23 % over some years. As a result of rapid decrease in fertility but increase in the life expectancy, Vietnam’s population has led to development on many issues. A high growth rate can prove harmful to a country as the resources available for use may be insufficient to cater for the whole populous. However, Vietnam’s adoption of policy to limit number of children spouse have has aided in putting the growth at bay and in the Northern Vietnam, the population growth rate has come down to  2.5 from3.5%.

Vietnamese authorities have support the institution of a state organ to oversee the execution of the party's policies on the organization of youth, employment and education, in consideration that the youth constitute a larger proportion of the population (Ashwill and Ngoc, 77).  The government has also advanced the private-sector to grow and create jobs and improved the legal systems and physical infrastructure like power water and roads that the youth may have a favorable place to develop their skills and utilize the opportunities presented.

Human Development

Vietnam’s has witnessed great strides in the achievements of human development which has is evidenced by the fast growing rate of human development index (HDI). For instance, in 1995, Vietnam had a HDI of 0.560 making it rank as the 122nd   over 177 countries. However, in 2005, the HDI became 0.733 giving Vietnam a standing of 105th over 177 countries. Put differently, despite Vietnam getting low ranking in the developing countries group in accordance to GDP per capita, Vietnam ranks past the medium line amongst other developing countries by means of HDI. That is a clear manifest Vietnam pays special attention to the social development (IBP, 10).

Vietnam has provided education with top priority in its national policy. Before1945. Vietnam had more than 90% of its citizenry being illiterate. In the same year, there were about 4,037 secondary schools in Vietnam, where 86 were lower and upper secondary schools, 4 were high schools, 3 were universities spread  all over Indochina. Towards the end of 2008, Vietnams, literacy rate had reached 94%. In fact, 47 out of 63 cities and provinces satisfied the national criterion for universalization of secondary education. The same year, Vietnam was placed at 64th over 127 countries in regard with educational growth by UNESCO (Anis and Iyanatul, 232).The expenditure on education is increasing with  15% being spend on  education while 2% on  science.

Vietnam’s strategy on economic and social development has focused on delivery of better healthcare services to its people. Vietnam has succeeded in its health care sector and in 1940; it had 741 medical that comprised of hospitals, clinics and health stations. However, these facilities were medical centers were mostly set aside for feudal mandarins and colonialists but not for Vietnamese laborers. The expenses of medical sector were 11,528 billion VND in the year 2006 where great results were realized in health care sector and in the prevention of social diseases. Deaths as a result of malaria were also cut down by more than 10% and nearly 90% of citizens got access to the medical services offered. Advances have been realized in assisting women’s in their reproductive health. And maternal death rates have come down from “91 over 100,000 children in 2002 to 75 over 100,000 in 2006” (World Bank, 295).

Migration and Cultures in Contact

Iredale et al assert that one of the key factors that have led to immigration from Vietnam has been the disparity between the wages in Vietnam and those of the international standards. Likewise, labor demand in the Eastern bloc has led to the inflow of workers to these regions including the Vietnamese (p. 176). With the increasing modernization of Agriculture, the number of workers absorbed by this sector has reduced and this has promoted the migration of people to the urban areas. Collinson confirm that lack sufficient land and absence of employment opportunities in the village have pushed the people to migrate to urban areas and some overseas. Migration to Vietnam by foreigners like China has been caused by significant population rise In China that has promoted the migration of Chinese in search of new opportunities (p.170).

Looking at migration data, it can be noted that Vietnam has had a reduced number of migrants. For instance, in 1989, Vietnam had -118 thousands migration while in 2009, the value as -34. Migration of Vietnamese has caused a number of issues. For instance, migration of young adult has led to many children being left for long and uncared for.  Vietnam on the other hand has set up Like other countries, Vietnam Immigration Department requires foreigners entering Vietnam to set up migration polices that mandates that every foreigners seeking entry to  Vietnam possess a valid passport which can be applied through the Vietnam Embassy in the country of origin or  application through authorized organization (Lemay, 109).

Human rights

According to the US Department of State report, Vietnam’s human rights record has been viewed as “poor” and mentioned to be in the continuance of “serious abuses.” The report further indict the government of Vietnam for inflicting limitation on, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of assembly. In some instances, the Vietnamese government has been accused of holding political prisoners who have in the past expressed their views that were not in alignment with the government policy. Such prisoners are kept in prison where conditions are typically “harsh.

Additionally, the report affirms that the Vietnam government lacks an independent judiciary and as a result, access to a fair and speedy trial does not exist. Is some areas too, the human rights organizations are restricted to set up their operations (IBP, 20). Despite the fact that the government officially allows for freedom of religion and accredits Protestant, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Muslim and other denominations, the government is faulted for insisting on monitoring the clergies of the approved groups. According to Blagov, religion has persisted as a contentious subject particularly in the communist Vietnam where restrictions exists restrictions. (169).Vietnamese government is also accused of FTP filtration of internet content as shown below.

Climatic changes

Clark in his article asserts that Vietnam will be among five nations that will be affected mostly by the adverse climatic changes. Clark goes on and isolates “the low-lying and flood-prone Mekong Delta area” known for production of rice as Worst-case scenarios (Para. 1). The seas level is anticipated to experience a  one-meter rise by the year 2100  and this will result on  10 % of Vietnam’s entire population being affected  and the country subsequently  losing about 10% of it GDP. Such displacement of millions of citizens provides a good predisposing environment where people can contract vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue. In this case, provision of health services and activities of human rights groups will come into play.

Vietnam suffers from about 6.4 instances of typhoons every year which normally affect the climate impact negatively. The deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai  is quoted to have said that "Vietnam will be affected much more by climate change" in the future (Clark, Para. 18). With such threats lingering, local news have reported that  the government set aside about 12- to 14-million U.S. dollar major project that will be implemented in two phases and aimed at enhancing the community’s apprehension  the climate change  and its effects. In this regard, the government appropriated a National Target Programme to react to climatic changes accordingly.

Due to Senior the rapid economic and industrial development, Vietnam’s carbon emission has increased at the rate of 17-20 percent yearly. This was revealed by Clive Mason, the International Finance Corporation a private sector World Bank’s private sector funding branch. The levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have heightened from nearly 6.7 percent in 1995-2000 to 10.6 % in 2000-2005 and thus becoming the world highest (VietNamNet ).

Physical geography

Vietnam is located in the Asia-Pacific region and is shaped like a wide and elongated letter S. It covers an area of 327, 500. Sq. kilometers and borders China on the North, Laos and Cambodia on the west. Vietnam’s capital city is Hanoi with other key cities being Hue, Ha Tinh, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam has numerous physical diversities with many beautiful types of scenery (Taylor, 1991).Vietnam has numerous mountains and natural resources with some areas being disposed to floods and storms. Due to hilly terrains, some areas have low income as a result of few economic activities being carried. Vietnam also consists of large areas of continental shelf and numerous islands that stretch the gulf of Tonkin and Thailand Gulf which experiences severe storms and hurricanes

Vietnam is located between the tropic of cancer and the equator where resulting to complex and a humid climate in Vietnam. The country has an average temperature of 22º C  with it experiencing two distinct season with the North having thick ice cover and periodic snow in the mountains while the south has temperature rising to 40°C in the dry season. (Ray & Wendy, 13).

Information Communication and Technology

Vietnam’s ICT is small but despite this, it has continued to attract a lot of foreign investments.  There has been tremendous growth in the sector and the sector has grown above that of countries like South Africa. The growth in the ICT field can be attributed to the commitment the government placed on the sector as well as the huge market potential. Yue emphasizes that the ICT of Vietnam is not yet ready for creation of services hence, it mainly import both hardware and software and adapting it for their use (p. 261). To put Vietnam’s ICT sector in the map of the world, policies have been made to enhance the sector such as the development of the human resource sector and support for higher education in mathematics and science.    

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