Finland and SIDA Donate to Vietnam’s Development Programme

The donors are the World Bank, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Irish Agency for International Development (IrishAid), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Finland, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
A document to this effect was signed in Hanoi on July 6 by representatives of the Committee for Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Areas (CEMA) and the eight donors.
Their financial and technical assistance will focus on supporting production modes and the shifting of agricultural production towards commodity production and market development, providing basic infrastructure facilities, enhancing the capability of local officials and the community in planning, supervisory and appraisal work, and improving local people’s well being through full access to basic social services.
After seven years of implementing the first phase, the programme has brought a new facelift to the beneficiary communes. By the end of 2005 as many as 736 communes escaped poverty and they no longer relied on the programme. In the next four years, about 1,644 disadvantaged communes are expected to benefit from the second phase which will receive VND12,950 billion from the State budget. With the foreign aid, it is expected to fulfil the set goals, including reducing the poverty rate in the beneficiary communes to below 30 percent.
Addressing the signing ceremony, World Bank Country Director in Vietnam William Paterson noted that programme 135 has been the Government’s most effective programme to date with the aim of supporting poor people and those living in ethnic areas. He said the programme has drawn the engagement of the whole community, sectors, the Vietnamese government and international donors as well. He affirmed that donors and the Vietnamese Government will cooperate closely in using capital sources effectively.
Minister and chairman of CEMA, Kso Phuoc, said economic development for people in the disadvantaged areas is a top priority policy of the Party and State, and an important part of the government’s poverty reduction strategy.
Over the past 20 years of implementing the Doi Moi (Renewal) process, he said, Vietnam has made numerous achievements in hunger eradication and poverty reduction. Notably, the process has brought new changes in mountainous areas, meeting the major needs. He also vowed to use aid effectively to make the programme a success.

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