The 44th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), to take place in Hanoi in May, is an opportunity for participants to witness Vietnam’s socio-economic achievements in recent years and its progress towards Middle Income Country status.

These remarks were made by ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda at a press conference in Hanoi on Mar. 1.

“ Vietnam has sharply reduced poverty and improved living standards over the past two decades,” he said, adding that poverty levels fell from over 58 percent in 1993 to around 10 percent by the end of 2010.

He expressed his impression of the country’s socio-economic achievements, with a rapid economic growth rate of 6.8 percent in 2010, saying it has rallied quickly from the global financial crisis, supported by timely stimulus measures.

However, he pointed out challenges ahead for Vietnam , such as the “middle income country trap”.

According to the ADB President, in the short term, the country is facing challenges to macro-economic stability, such as high inflation. This will require some policy adjustments and further economic reforms, such as those being carried out in the state-owned enterprise sector, which are also necessary to secure long-term, inclusive growth.

Also at the event, Kuroda stressed regional cooperation and integration as issues to be discussed at the upcoming meeting.

According to the ADB President, regional cooperation and integration play an important role in Vietnam ’s rapid growth.

He took this opportunity to praise the Vietnamese Government in promoting comprehensive cooperation with neighbouring countries, particularly through ADB-assisted programmes like the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), affirming, “ Vietnam is an important member of the GMS”.

The ADB annual meeting, scheduled for May 3-6, expects to draw about 3,000 participants, including heads of state, finance ministers, central bank governors and representatives from the private sector, academia and media, according to the press conference held by the State Bank of Vietnam and the ADB in Vietnam .

According to Kuroda, issues to be discussed at the meeting will include the short-term economic prospects of emerging economies in Asia and the Pacific, inflation pressure, sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction, environmental protection, climate change and mitigation of impacts from natural disasters.

ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda is on a working visit to Vietnam from Feb. 28-Mar. 2 as part of the lead-up to the 44 th ADB annual meeting.

He said he was impressed with Vietnam ’s preparations for the meeting and was pleased Vietnam will host the meeting./.