The Danish development assistance to Vietnam is being phased out and scheduled to end in 2016. Currently, the development assistance from Denmark to Vietnam is 350 million Danish kroner, but this will year by year be cut down until in 2016 all projects are phased out.
During this transition period, the Royal Danish Embassy in Hanoi will prioritize its efforts in the commercial area to support Danish cooperation especially within the educational sector, says John Nielsen, the newly appointed Danish Ambassador to Vietnam.
“Denmark provides the fifth largest development program to Vietnam mainly focused on agriculture, environment and climate. Within the commercial area we are well on the way into the educational sector. This is an area in which we will engage much more in order to create higher educational standards for Vietnamese,” he adds.
“The educational system of Vietnam is not adequate. There are currently no research activities that can pave the way for a future healthy business sector. Vietnamese students are still taught the old fashioned way and the educational sector still has a lot to learn. Universities are hopelessly lagging behind compared with the standards of China and the rest of the world.”
“This is an area in which Denmark is eager to assist, and there are already several initiative,” he adds with reference to in particular the establishment of the Niels Brock Business School in cooperation with Foreign Trade University in Hanoi City.
“We’re working on an agreement with the Vietnamese government on the development of the education sector. Currently a large number of young people of affluent parents are going abroad to study. But nobody knows whether they will return. Many more should have the opportunity to study in Vietnam,” he says.
Danish staff in HCMC
John Nielsen, who became ambassador to Vietnam 1st of September 2010, has also promised to look into the possibility of posting a Danish employee at the Danish Consulate in HCMC. This is a long term wish of the big local Danish business community.
A Danish staff in HCMC would not only support the local Danish business community but also create a greater cohesion between the Embassy and the business community in South Vietnam which is most businesses and where Vietnam’s economic growth is most vibrant.
“We have 125 Danish companies in Vietnam and more companies are on their way. Some of them will settle with production while others open sales offices. They do so because they assess Vietnam as a very interesting country,” says John Nielsen.
“Originally low wages was driving the internationalization process. And it is still a huge success seen with Danish and Vietnamese eyes. But now the Vietnamese are earning much more money so that they have begun demanding consumer products they have never bought before. Also quality products are being put in the basket,” he adds.
Ambassador John Nielsen has used his first couple of months getting an insight into the Vietnamese community and the Vietnamese way of life. He has been pleasantly surprised and is looking forward to his four-year term as ambassador to Vietnam.