UK, VN enter new phase of development partnership

UK has agreed to provide Vietnam with £70 million in grant aid until 2015, according to a Development Partnership Arrangement (DPA) between the two Governments.

During a four-day visit to Vietnam, the Right Honourable Alan Duncan, Minister of State for International Development in UK and the Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment, Vo Hong Phuc signed an amendment on May 26 in Hanoi.

The objective is to support Vietnam in meeting the Millennium Development Goals; achieving strong growth that is led by the private sector and strengthen efforts to tackle corruption and enhance accountability.  This amendment comes only a few months after the launch of the Strategic Partnership between the two Governments in September 2010.

The UK Minister of State also took this opportunity to announce that UK would take the lead from Sweden on anti-corruption.  This role entails coordination of development partners to engage with and provide support to the Government in its efforts to tackle corruption.

“I am delighted to be making my second visit to Vietnam within one year and very pleased to see for myself again a vibrant, emerging Vietnam.”  – said the Minister of State. “Today, I am pleased to have agreed to the next five years of our development partnership.  We look forward to working more closely with the Vietnamese Government to take forward these priorities.”

Minister of State Alan Duncan visited Vietnam at the invitation of Minister of Planning and Investment, Vo Hong Phuc. During his visit, he held high-level meetings, including one with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung to reiterate the importance of bilateral relations between the two countries and with the Deputy General Inspector, Tran Duc Luong to reaffirm UK’s support to fight corruption.  He was also guest of honour at the Queen’s Birthday Party, hosted by the British Embassy.

In addition, the Minister of State spent two days to see two programmes supported by UK aid in Vietnam.  He visited the Semi-washed Robusta Coffee Station in Dak Lak province, under the Making Markets Work for the Poor programme and a pilot project to grow vetiver grass to prevent seashore erosion in Phu Yen province under Vietnam Innovation Day.  This visit allowed the Minister to see for himself the results that UK aid has delivered to the poor and disadvantaged people in Vietnam.

UK and Vietnam entered into a ten-year DPA in 2006. By 2011, UK, through the Department for International Development (DFID), has provided over £380 million grant aid to Vietnam through the bilateral programme. In addition, since 2006 nearly £19 million in debt relief has been granted to Vietnam through the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative for humanitarian efforts. 

In March this year, as the outcome of the Bilateral Aid Review, UK confirmed that its aid to Vietnam would end by 2016, at the same time when the DPA concluded.  

Until then, UK will continue to support Vietnam to meet MDG targets in primary education, sanitation, HIV/AIDS and plan to increase focus on emerging issues like climate change, governance and trade/investment. Details of DFID funded programmes in Vietnam can be found on:http://projects.dfid.gov.uk/Default.aspx?countrySelect=VN-Vietnam 

By Uyen Phuong

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