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Switzerland grants $90mn in ODA grants for 2017-2020

Released at: 16:38, 12/10/2016

Switzerland grants $90mn in ODA grants for 2017-2020

Photo : cand.com.vn

Announcement comes as two countries celebrate 45 years of bilateral relations.

by Duy Anh

Switzerland has committed to provide CHF 90 million ($90.9 million) in official development assistance (ODA) grants to Vietnam to further strengthen the longstanding cooperation between the two countries in the 2017-2020 period.

Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Ms. Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen Fleish, paid a two-day official visit to Vietnam on October 10 and 11 to mark the 45th anniversary of bilateral relations on October 11.

Ms. Fleish and Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong launched Switzerland’s new development cooperation strategy for 2017-2020, with Vietnam the focus in economic development cooperation.

Through its new development cooperation strategy for 2017-2020, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) will provide support to Vietnam in three main areas: fostering effective economic policies and institutions, creating a competitive and resource-efficient private sector, and enabling sustainable and climate resilient urban development.

Core fields of work relate to public financial management, financial sector strengthening, access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the promotion of environmental and social sustainability standards, resource-efficient and clean production, framework conditions for sustainable trade, an efficient business enabling environment, integrated urban planning, and access to reliable public services.

On the same day Ms. Fleish was welcomed by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi. The PM thanked Switzerland for prioritizing the provision of ODA to Vietnam in 2013-2016 and expressed a hope of receiving additional funds in 2017-2020 to carry out development programs.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc welcomes Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Ms. Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen Fleish. Photo: VGP

Vietnam is an attractive investment market and has become one of Switzerland’s important partners in Asia, with “many large Swiss companies demonstrating their interest in Vietnam,” Ms. Fleish said during her meeting with the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Phuc affirmed that Vietnam will create the best conditions possible for foreign investors, including those from Switzerland, to conduct business, especially in the fields of finance, banking, insurance, high technology, medicine, processing, and tourism.

On the evening of October 11 the Swiss Embassy in Vietnam hosted an event to celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, at the Melia Hotel, with the participation of the Ambassador of Switzerland in Vietnam, H.E. Beatrice Maser Mallor, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dang Dinh Quy.

Celebrations for the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Vietnam in Hanoi.

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister Quy emphasized the contributions by and wide-ranging support from Switzerland to Vietnam and noted that Switzerland was one of the first European countries to set up diplomatic relations with Vietnam.

“Over the past 45 years, our two countries have been able to develop an extensive cooperation framework in a wide range of areas, from political, diplomatic, trade, and investment to education, culture, and people-to-people exchanges,” Mr. Quy told the gathering.

Ms. Fleish stressed that Switzerland’s total investment in Vietnam of $2 billion to date makes it the fourth-largest European investor in the country. More than 90 Swiss companies are now in Vietnam, providing quality employment to thousands of people and contributing to strengthening Vietnam’s economy.

Regarding the free trade agreement (FTA) between Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland with Vietnam, “I had further fruitful discussions with the Minister and Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade and we are convinced that the FTA will be beneficial to all countries,” she said.

As a continuation of the diplomatic relations between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Swiss Confederation established in 1971, Swiss ODA to Vietnam started in 1992.

To 2016, Switzerland had committed CHF 467 million ($488 million) to Vietnam’s socioeconomic development and reform agenda, implemented by two governmental development agencies with complementary instruments and programs: the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and SECO.

Alongside Vietnam’s rapid socioeconomic development, its significant results achieved under the Millennium Development Goals, and reaching middle income country status, Switzerland continues to adjust its ODA focus. It will phase out SDC’s bilateral poverty reduction and governance program while continuing SECO’s substantial engagement in the area of economic development cooperation.

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