Vietnam is a development success story. Political and economic reforms (Doi Moi) launched in 1986 have transformed Vietnam from one of the poorest countries in the world, with per capita income below US$100, to a lower middle income country within a quarter of a century with per capita income of US$1,130 by the end of 2010. The ratio of population in poverty has fallen from 58 percent in 1993 to 14.5 percent in 2008, and most indicators of welfare have improved. Vietnam has already attained five of its ten original Millennium Development Goal targets and is well on the way to attaining two more by 2015.
Vietnam has been applauded for the equity of its development, which has been better than most other countries in similar situations. The country is playing a more visible role on the regional and global stage, having successfully chaired the 2009 Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the IMF, and carried out the Chairmanship of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2010.
The Eleventh Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam in January 2011 called for a more comprehensive approach to the country's renovation, decided to promote greater citizens' participation and unity within Vietnam, and to engage proactively in international integration. The Congress re-affirmed Vietnam's approach to state-led development, but also revised key policy documents to place greater emphasis on market processes and non-state ownership of economic assets.
The Socio-Economic Development Strategy (SEDS) 2011-2020 gives attention to structural reforms, environmental sustainability, social equity, and emerging issues of macroeconomic stability. It defines three "breakthrough areas": (i) promoting human resources/skills development (particularly skills for modern industry and innovation), (ii) improving market institutions, and (iii) infrastructure development. The overall goal is for Vietnam to lay the foundations for a modern, industrialized society by 2020.
Over the last quarter of a century, Vietnam's politics and society have gradually evolved towards greater openness and space for civil participation. The ability of the National Assembly to perform the role of a check and balance on the executive has strengthened. Despite this progress, greater openness and opportunity for citizens to participate in governance is needed to support Vietnam's long term vision of becoming a modern industrialized society.
More recently, the conclusions of the October 2011 Communist Party Plenum recognized the need for economic restructuring and identified restructuring of public investment, of SOEs and the financial sector, as priorities for the next five years.
Source: World Bank