Poverty Alleviation in VietnamBy 2004, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, commonly known as Vietnam, accomplished its Millenium Development Goal (MDG) of halving extreme poverty rates a decade before the United Nations Deadline. In 1993, 58.1% of households in Vietnam lived under the international poverty line. By 2004, that number had dropped to 19.5%. This was done by refining social indexes such as health care, education enrollment and amenity access.

Since then, the percentage of Vietnamese people living in poverty has decreased. As of 2020, only 4.8% of the nation lives in poverty.

Doi Moi Method for Poverty Alleviation in Vietnam

This fiscal achievement is difficult for a country that suffered decades of war. After an economic collapse in the late 1900s, Vietnam faced 700% inflation and an economy that survived off of foreign aid from the Soviet Union.

The nation began its successful poverty alleviation with the Doi Moi reforms, loosely translated to “rejuvenation,” in 1986. The Doi Moi method utilized three effective strategies for policy alleviation, most of which centered around stimulating economic growth through open-door trade.

Agricultural Reformation

The restoration plan was initially focused on aiding the agriculture industry, which 70% of Vietnamese worked in at the time. Doi Moi abolished collective farming and provided smaller farmers with land through 20-year leases. The government also removed price control, allowing for more profitable sales for industrial producers and farmers. Furthermore, subsidizing the irrigation system created more plantable areas, significantly aiding agricultural production.

Simultaneously lowering the barriers to international trade and revamping agriculture helped the inflow of goods, money and tourists flourish. Within two decades, Vietnam soon resurfaced as one of the largest rice exporters in the world, trading 3 to 4 million tons of rice annually.

Establishment of Private Businesses

To mitigate inflation, Vietnam encouraged the founding of private businesses by scaling back on government monopolies and devaluing the currency. In addition, they provided service industries for individuals and families. From 1989 to 2016, the country reduced its state-owned corporations from over 12,000 to less than 600.

National Targeted Programs

Finally, the Vietnamese government invested in national target programs. The Education for All plan focused on putting education first by investing in teachers, curriculum and the overall quality of the schools. The program built basic infrastructure like electricity, school and healthcare facilities while extending forestry and the agriculture industry.

Other programs, such as the National Targeted Program for Poverty Reduction (NTPPR) work to aid those who live in rural areas. The NTPPR is consistently re-evaluated. As of 2022, the NTPPR will focus on women to generate better gender-based equality and lessen violence against women.

While there are still challenges to overcome in poverty alleviation in Vietnam, such as the widening wealth gap and poverty disparities between ethnic groups, the Doi Moi policy has proved to be successful in various ways in combating extreme poverty and served a crucial role in its successful poverty alleviation story that has been recognized by many.

– James Bao
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Poverty in Vietnam
Since 2010, Vietnam has undergone major success in transforming its country into a lower middle-income nation. It has also achieved its Millennium Development Goal targets in reducing poverty in Vietnam and have since then established new goals. Despite its continual development, there are a few concerning disparities, such as regional inequalities between city dwellers and the Vietnamese minority groups that populate mountainous regions. But, the country is still making impressive progress. Below are ten important facts about poverty in Vietnam.

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Vietnam

    1. Because of rapid economic growth in the 1990s, Vietnam experienced a drastic improvement, especially in the southeast where poverty dropped from 32.7 percent of people living below the poverty line in 1993 to less than 7.6 percent as recorded in 1998. According to the Asian Development Bank, six other countries in Southeast Asia still have from 8.6 to 32.1 percent of their populations struggling under the national poverty line.
    2. The United States has been strategizing with Vietnam to transform it into a more sustainable developing country and partner. A five-year plan was developed in 2014 where $86 million is being allocated to improve trade, grow the private sector and develop higher education. Another $239 million is assigned to areas of international health, climate change, disaster relief and vulnerable groups important to a successful economic and social fabric. USAID is also allotting funds of $19 million to the issue of dioxin contamination at Danang and Bien Hoa Airbase along with other general environmental pollution issues they may find with 19 million dollars.
    3. To continue addressing the issues stemming from poverty, Vietnam set Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are 17 goals to be achieved by 2030 that improve the country’s poverty rate, healthcare system and address issues of equality. Vietnam has further narrowed its focus to accommodate the needs of more vulnerable groups such as the disabled, women, children, and ethnic minorities.
    4. In the past few years, Vietnam has already achieved 10 of the impressive Sustainable Development Goals. Since 2016, 93.4 percent of households have had access to clean water. Gender equality is increasing, as 26.7 percent of the seats in National Parliaments will be held by women in the 2016 to 2021 term. Health insurance coverage had reached 86.4 of the population in 2017.
    5. The participation rate in organized education is 87.9 percent among females and 91.1 percent among males. Education is often cited as one of the most influential factors in lifting Vietnam completely out of poverty.
    6. Renewable energy made up 35 percent of the total final energy consumption in 2015. In 2016, electricity became accessible to 100 percent of the population.
    7. In South Asia, child marriage has decreased by nearly 20 percent in the last decade. However, in 2014, one in 10 women aged 20 to 24 has reported that they had been married before turning 18. The child marriage rates among the women in Vietnam have not seen much decrease. To end this practice by 2030 will take significantly more effort.
    8. By 2020, Vietnam hopes to achieve its own goal of becoming a developed nation.
    9. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) strives to deliver Vietnam into the upper middle-income country status. It has given Vietnam $16 billion since 1993 to promote job creation in the economy, as well as encouraged environmental sustainability. The ADB is supporting Vietnam through a 2016 to 2020 partnership that will promote investments and policy reforms that benefit environmentally sustainable economic development as well as increase equality in the social classes.
    10. Overlooked ethnic minorities and groups struggling in mountainous areas are taking an active role in eliminating their poverty. In developing strategies to improve their communities, they have worked with the Poverty Reduction Policies Project to come up with sustainable solutions. More than 11,500 men and women in such communities from 8 different pilot provinces in Vietnam have attended meetings to discuss innovative lifestyle changes. For instance, one northern mountain province, the small village Na Vuong, has incorporated cow breeding into their livelihoods to increase income for many families.

The level of progress that Vietnam has attained is a token to its continual support from countries and organizations all around the globe. As others from outside the borders are delivering the necessary attention to poverty in Vietnam, those from within the country that are still suffering from a worse poverty rate due to geological, ethnic, gender, and other disparities have been hard at work to raise themselves out of their oppressive reality.

– Alice Lieu
Photo: Google