Thirty years after the launch of the economic reforms known as Doi Moi, Vietnam is considered a development success story — marked by remarkable poverty reduction and economic growth. Vietnam reached middle income status in 2009, achieved most Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — many of them ahead of time — and has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The economy has developed from being largely closed and centrally planned to dynamic and market - oriented, integrated and connected to the global economy. Furthermore, growth has been inclusive, translating into tangible gains for the Vietnamese people, economically and in broader welfare terms, with significant increases and improvements in access and quality of services.
Notwithstanding notable achievements, development challenges persist. Poverty gains are fragile, with remaining poverty concentrated in rural areas and among ethnic minorities. Vietnam is highly vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters, and natural assets are exploited unsustainably. Weak institutions, often with overlapping mandates and responsibilities, and inadequate processes for coordination, impede state effectiveness. There are rising fiscal pressure and vulnerabilities in the banking sector, the domestic private sector is developing below potential, and labor productivity growth is diminishing. Needed investments in infrastructure exceed resources available, and the ability to mobilize private sector resources for such investments remains weak. Vietnam’s demographic and economic evolutions are also putting new demands on service delivery and social protection systems.