Development partners have committed to maintaining their assistance level to Vietnam in 2014 as that pledged in 2013, although the country has risen to middle-income status, Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh has said.

In 2013, international donors pledged to provide close to 6.5 billion USD in official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam.

At a press conference on the outcomes of Vietnam’s Development Partnership Forum 2013 (VDPF 2013) in Hanoi on December 5, the minister said over the past two decades, Vietnam has become a middle-income developing country thanks to its efforts and the effective support of the international community.

According to international practices, ODA support policies from donors will change once a country reaches middle-income status to concentrate assistance for poorer ones. Vietnam is now experiencing such a period, he added.

Minister Vinh stressed that the forum is an important milestone in Vietnam’s development process. Since 1993, Vietnam has called for official development assistance through the annual Consultative Group (CG) meetings.

They agreed with the Vietnamese Government on specific strategies and challenges that the country faces in the coming period. The donors pledged to walk side-by-side with Vietnam on the path of realising the strategies, said Vinh.

The minister said international donors also lauded Vietnam’s effective use and management of ODA for economic development and poverty reduction.

It is a new period for the partnership between Vietnam and development donors when Vietnam, an ODA recipient, is now also a partner conversing and discussing with donors to engineer orientations and policies to help the country overcome challenges and develop, he said.

During the forum, which is considered the start for a number of high-level dialogues between the Government and donors, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung frankly answered all concerns of the partners, thus creating trust and motivation for them to continue their attention to Vietnam, Minister Vinh noted.

Minister Vinh emphasised that Vietnam has entered a new development period, thus the country should change its mindset on ODA. The assistance will not only be invested in infrastructure projects and profitable ones, but also in those for social development, poverty reduction and other fields.

The assistance is part of the Vietnamese Government’s long-term loans, so the responsibility of managing and using the fund must be higher with clearer purpose and calculation of efficiency and refund capacity, he added.-VNA