WB Vice President for the East Asia-Pacific Victoria Kwakwa (Source: VNA) 
 
Hanoi (VNA) – The World Bank on October 3 announced its report “Expanding Opportunities for the Urban Poor” through a video conference connecting its offices in East Asian-Pacific countries, including Vietnam. 

Speaking at the event, WB Vice President for the East Asia-Pacific Victoria Kwakwa said the common challenge is how to bring opportunities to people in cities, from migrant workers living in the suburbs to underpaid workers in factories, so that they could benefit more from urbanisation and contribute to stronger growth.

WB urban development expert Judy Baker, author of the report, said rapid urbanisation poses both challenges and opportunities, adding that measures to improve urban inclusion are practical, effective and necessary.

The report said Vietnam’s urbanisation is growing rapidly by 3.2 percent annually, doubling population growth of the country, mostly in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Up to 23 percent of young people aged 15-21 have moved to urban areas over the past five years.

It underscored the need to take a flexible and multidimensional approach to controlling housing supply, facilitating the supply of low-cost housing and involvement of private firms in home building and rent, and linking transport with outlying areas.

According to the report, the 3 percent urbanisation growth in the region has lifted 655 million people out of poverty over the past two decades. However, the number of regional people living in slums is the highest worldwide. Up to 250 million people live in cramped living conditions with the shortage of necessary services and could face risks regarding flooding.

It urged municipal authorities to adopt multidimensional approach to planning, considering economic, regional planning, social inclusion issues to promote economic growth and reduce poverty.

The report suggested connecting poor workers with labour market, investing in synchronous planning, respecting citizens’ rights to cities, strengthening local governance, building a data system to help citizens make evidence-based decisions, among others.-VNA