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IFAD celebrates 25 years in Vietnam

Released at: 16:16, 22/05/2019

IFAD celebrates 25 years in Vietnam

Photo: IFAD

International Fund for Agricultural Development has financed 15 rural development projects since its arrival.

by Nghi Do

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) celebrated its 25th year of partnership with Vietnam on May 22 in Hanoi.

IFAD has financed 15 rural development projects in Vietnam with total investment of $565.4 million over the course of the 25 years, of which it contributed $377.5 million. These projects have directly benefited more than 748,470 rural households in eleven provinces in the country.

“We are celebrating the solid and fruitful partnership between IFAD and Vietnam this year,” said Mr. Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President of IFAD. “Vietnam has made impressive leaps forward in transforming its economy in a very short time-span, growing from a mere $230 GDP per capita in 1985 to $2,340 in 2017, or $600 when corrected for purchasing power. This growth has also been generally inclusive, with poverty decreasing from 60 per cent of the total population in the mid-80s to less than 10 per cent in 2016.”

He added that IFAD has worked side-by-side with the government and development partners to support and contribute to Vietnam’s poverty eradication efforts.

In rural areas, home to over 70 per cent of the population, poverty eradication efforts need to be strengthened. IFAD’s current strategy aims at developing pro-poor market-led innovations, deepening institutional and policy reform at the provincial level, building capacity among poor farm households, and adapting to the effects of climate change.

“Our program in Vietnam is not only about finance, rural transformation, and innovation,” said Mr. Thomas Rath, Vietnam Country Director of IFAD. “It is also about people. IFAD is a people-centered organization. We invest in rural people while focusing on activities that have the greatest impact on residual poverty in rural areas. I must sincerely acknowledge the good work of hundreds of partner organizations, thousands of change agents, and rural champions; those that have journeyed with us and been part of our important history.”

Despite Vietnam’s impressive progress in transforming its economy in a very short time, there remains work to be done. Poverty gains in rural areas are fragile, with poor and extremely poor people concentrated in ethnic minority groups, often residing in mountainous areas.

“Vietnam and its people attach importance to and cherish the cooperation with IFAD,” said Deputy Minister of Finance Huynh Quang Hai. “We are willing to continue our contribution to efforts with IFAD to eliminate poverty and accelerate agricultural development. Based on our initial joint success, it is very important for Vietnam to replicate and scale up interventions, models, and practices that have proven effective and impactful in the eleven provinces. It is equally important to encourage more women to join the development process and ensure that no one is left behind.”

Vietnam has now become a hub for foreign investment and manufacturing in Southeast Asia, but still has a predominantly rural population with a vibrant agriculture sector, where small holders represent the majority, contribute to sustained growth, and provide much of the rural employment and raw materials for agro-businesses. IFAD is fully committed to continuing its partnership with Vietnam in support of its quest to reduce poverty in all its dimensions and to fulfill the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 1: No Poverty.

IFAD is an international financial institution and specialized United Nations agency based in Rome - the UN’s food and agriculture hub. It invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition, and strengthen resilience.

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