An international seminar aimed at discussing issues related to inclusive, sustainable socio-economic development in Vietnam took place in Hanoi on March 24.

The event was co-organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said that Vietnam has reaped remarkable socio-economic development achievements after nearly 30 years of implementing the renewal process.

Once an underdeveloped country, Vietnam is now among the middle-income nations with an average annual economic growth rate of 7 percent in the 1986-2011 period, he said.

In 2013, the country’s economic growth of 5.4 percent was lower than expected due to the impacts of the world economic recession. The figure is expected to reach 6 percent this year.

The rate of poor households plunged from 58 percent in the early 1990s to 7.8 percent last year.

According to the 2013 UNDP Human Development Report, Vietnam is one of 40 developing countries recording massive progress in human development with its index jumping 41 percent in the last two decades.

Data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) shows that the number of Internet users in Vietnam is nearly 31 million, or 34 percent of its population, ranking third in Southeast Asia and eighth in Asia.

The above outcomes prove Vietnam’s high determination in combining economic growth and ensuring social equality and progress, Deputy PM Minh said.

In the 2011-2020 socio-economic development strategy, the Vietnamese Party and Government affirm their determination to turn Vietnam into an industrial country by 2020 through three strategic breakthroughs, namely perfecting market economy institutions, developing high-quality human resources and modernising infrastructure, he noted.

Speaking at the event, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, who is on a visit to Vietnam, said that the country boasts a young and competitive labour force, and abundant natural resources lies in a dynamic region.

“In considering its next generation of reforms, Vietnam can opt for an inclusive and sustainable development pathway,” she said, adding the UNDP is committed to supporting Vietnam on its development journey.

Helen Clark also suggested a number of critical areas which the Government could consider in the reform process to promote its inclusive and sustainable growth.

These include adopting more measures to improve the productivity and quality of agriculture and aquaculture; and undertaking a progressive upgrading of the economy towards higher value sectors overall to establish a new comparative advantage and create more decent work.

The country should expand opportunities through access to quality and relevant education; build a modern social protection system; invest in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation to build greater economic and social resilience; and adopt more transparent and accountable public resource allocation and management processes, she said.

“With smart policy choices, Vietnam’s future is bright”, Helen Clark affirmed.-VNA