The World Bank Group's Board of Executive Directors has discussed the Vietnam Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the 2012-16 period and approved the first three operations under the new CPS, delivering commitment to support its transition to a successful middle-income country.

Victoria Kwakwa, Country Director for the World Bank in Vietnam, said that the World Bank Group's first CPS with Vietnam since it became a lower middle-income country in 2009 will combine continuity from the previous CPS programme with the introduction of some gradual strategic shifts aimed at sharpening strategic focus within the programme, enhancing operational efficiency, and delivering development results faster.

Besides outlining Vietnam's key development achievements, the CPS also highlights remaining challenges, including maintaining high levels of growth with macroeconomic stability, strengthening economic competitiveness, managing the environment and natural resources and tackling persistent poverty in remote communities.

The CPS is expected to help Vietnam address these challenges and implement the Government's Socio-economic Development Strategy during the next 10 years.

It will support investment, programmes and advisory services organised into a strategic framework of three key pillars and three cross-cutting themes.

The pillars are to increase the country's competitiveness, sustainability of its development and access to social and economic opportunities. The cross-cutting themes are to strengthen governance, promote gender equality and improve resilience in the face of external economic shocks, natural hazards and the impacts of climate change.

The World Bank has provided nearly 14 billion USD in credit, loans and grants to help Vietnam sustain growth and fight poverty since 1993.

The International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's concessional arm, will allocate about 4.2 billion USD to support Vietnam during the new CPS period.

On December 15, the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved three operations worth total 457 million USD in IDA credits to help Vietnam implement three development projects in poverty reduction, urban infrastructure services and rural transport. /.