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Vietnam Today

Belgium commits $3.2mn for local governance

Released at: 13:25, 14/11/2016

Belgium commits $3.2mn for local governance

Photo: Viet Tuan/Illustration

Three provinces to share grant, with projects to boost citizen-government interaction.

by Minh Tuyet

Belgium will provide Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Kon Tum provinces with support of €3 million ($3.2 million) in total under three specific agreements within “Support for Responsive Accountable Local Governance (RALG)” projects.

The grant will be divided equally among the three province over a three-year period. All projects have the same objective, of strengthening citizen-government engagement as a means of promoting more transparent, accountable and responsive local governance, improved service delivery, and increased levels of citizen satisfaction.

Moreover, all citizens in Vietnam can be indirect beneficiaries of the projects through benefiting from lessons learned, good practice, and strengthened dialogue at the policy level with regard to the issue of citizen-government interaction.

The projects have three immediate beneficiaries. Firstly, People’s Committees and People’s Councils at the provincial, district and commune levels, and participating line agencies (including Home Affairs, Planning and Investment, Justice, Finance, etc.) will benefit from technical assistance and capacity building support.

Secondly, members of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and mass organizations at the provincial, district and commune levels will benefit from organizational development and capacity building support, which will enable them to better perform their core functions.

Thirdly, the citizens of selected communes and districts where the projects will be implemented will benefit in terms of increased influence on government decision making, resulting in improved local government performance and service delivery.

The three agreements have been signed by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong and H.E. Jehanne Roccas, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Vietnam.

Over the last 43 years, since the establishment of diplomatic relations, Vietnam and Belgium have developed strong bilateral ties. Vietnam has been a priority partner for Belgian cooperation for decades, which has contributed to the development of its education sector, water management, public health, and agricultural growth. Trade and investment relations have been expanding rapidly in recent years, as have cultural exchanges, and increasing numbers of Belgian companies are investing in Vietnam.

According to the Vietnamese Embassy in Belgium, investment between the two countries has grown dramatically in recent times. Goods trade value reached almost $2.3 billion in 2015; a marked increase against 2000, when figures were counted in the millions of dollars. In addition to trade, Belgian investors can be found in other sectors in Vietnam such as industry, agriculture, service, and finance.

There are currently about 65 Belgian projects in operation in Vietnam with total investment of $724.21 million. In the first nine months of this year there were five newly-licensed projects from Belgian investors, worth $1.75 million.

A trade mission involving numerous companies from Flanders and Brussels will visit both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City at the beginning of December to identify business opportunities.

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