Investment in public infrastructure has been one of the key driving forces for Vietnam’s economic development over recent decades. Infrastructure accounted for 53% of total Official Development Assistance (ODA) received between 2010-2017. Vietnam has heavily invested in transportation, particularly roads, airports, and seaports. Vietnam’s public and private investment in infrastructure reached 5.7% of GDP in recent years, the highest in Southeast Asia and second highest in Asia after only China.
Hochiminh on the rise. Photo by Tuan Nguyen, available on Unsplash.
Vietnam Energy Overview
In 2020, 82.97% of Vietnam’s energy consumption came from fossil fuels. Vietnam relies primarily on coal to meet its energy needs, with coal making 51.4% of energy consumption. Because it is known that energy production and consumption from fossil fuels is the leading cause of global greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, there has been a push to shift to an energy mix dominated by low-carbon energy sources. However, growing energy consumption due to population and income increases makes this energy transition much more difficult, and Vietnam is not an exception.
Windmill field in Binh Thuan province| Photo from triphunter.vn
Vietnam Ethnic group Profile
Vietnam is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, given its 54 recognized ethnic groups cohabiting in a relatively small landmass. Only seven of these groups—Kinh, Tay, Thai, H’mong, Muong, Nung, and Khmer—have populations over one million, while up to 12 ethnic groups count fewer than 10,000 members, 5 count fewer than 1,000 people including the Brau, O Du, Romam, Si La, and Pu Peo.
A visualization provides basic information about the 54 ethnic groups living in Vietnam, highlighting selected distinctive cultural and spiritual features of each.
A stamp collection of 54 Vietnamese Ethnic Group issued in 2005 | Image provided by the Vietnam Stamp Company
Ethnic miniority traditional festivals
A story map represents 17 typical ethnic minority traditional festivals in Vietnam recognized as national intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
Thai ladies dancing stalls at “Xen ban, Xen muong” festival Photo from dantocmiennui.vn
Mekong Delta of Vietnam has recently faced the most severe periods of drought and saline water intrusion in the last 100 years—notably in 2015–2016 and even more devastatingly in 2019–2020. Dry season droughts have become increasingly severe year over year, forcing the Government to declare a state of emergency and issue a call for international support. Increased salinity hit 10 out of 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta during the 2019 and 2020 seasons, affecting 58,000 hectares (ha) of rice, 6,650 ha of fruit trees, 1,241 ha of vegetables, and 8,715 ha of aquaculture. Up to 96,000 households or 430,000 people faced a shortage of daily use water.
Photo from moitruongvadothi.vn.
Vietnam is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. S-shaped with a 3,440 km coastline, its unique geographic location in the monsoon belt of Southeast Asia and diverse topography means that Vietnam suffers from many different types of natural hazards, including typhoons, tropical storms, floods, drought, salt water intrusion, landslides, and forest fires. More than 70% of Vietnam’s population is at risk from natural hazards, particularly the rural and urban poor.
Highlights on Gender and Ethnic minority in Vietnam
Gender disaprity within and between 53 ethnic minority groups and the majority Kinh people persists in almost all socio-economic aspects in Vietnam. Social norms for ethnic minority cultures typically value women and girls less than men and boys. Unpaid household tasks and duties are assigned, without question, to women and girls, regardless of other economic activities they may participate in. As a result, they are particularly disadvantaged, causing additional barriers to accessing opportunities and resources.
Photo by Sippakorn Yamkasikorn, available on Pexels.com.
The National Targeted Program on New Rural Development – 10 years review and way forward
In 2010, the Vietnam government established a rural development strategy, implemented through the National Targeted Program on New Rural Development. The program is intended to support more than 9,000 communes across the 63 provinces of Vietnam to upgrade services and infrastructure in their communities, raise their incomes and productivity, and reduce the still significant socio-economic disparities between rural and urban areas in Vietnam.
Photo: A newly built commune gate, recognizing “new rural commune” title achived. Sourced from Wikipedia.
Economy and Commerce
From one of the world’s poorest countries in late 1980s, in a period of 15 years, Vietnam transformed from an agricultural – based economy into a transitioning lower-middle income country. Poverty rates declined sharply from 79.7% in 1992 to 6.6% in 2018 (US$3.2/day PPP). The speed of this transformation outpaced its peers such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Busy Hanoi at night| Photo by Florian Wehde| Licensed by Unsplash
Coping with COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam
Vietnam recorded the country’s first COVID-19 cases on January 23, 2020. As of April 27, 2020, there were 270 confirmed cases.
The Government of Vietnam’s COVID-19 response has involved a series of initiatives from the central to the local level since late January 2020.
Data about COVID-19 consolidated by ODV team is available here
A woman labour| Picture taken by Thomas Gerlach. Licensed given by Pixabay.
Vietnam’s civil society and ethnic minorities
In Vietnam, ethnic minorities are supported by a network of non-governmental organizations, known as “civil society”. Civil society includes international non-governmental organizations, Vietnamese mass organizations, Vietnamese umbrella organizations, Vietnamese NGOs, community-based organizations, and professional organizations, although professional organizations work rarely related to ethnic minority issues. Together they work to promote inclusive growth, and protect indigenous knowledge and religious customs. However, their work occupies a sensitive space marked by difficulties.
The Vietnamese Government recognizes 53 ethnic minorities. Other counts suggest the existence of more than 90 groups, amounting to approximately 10 million people, or nearly 10% of Vietnam’s population. Most ethnic minorities inhabit remote areas of Vietnam and have their own belief systems which are heavily tied to land.
The agriculture sector plays a crucial role in Vietnam’s economy and society. In Vietnam, the sector includes crop production, livestock, fisheries, and forestry. Vietnam’s tropical climate, fertile soil, abundant water supply and rich biodiversity means that after 40 years of Doi Moi economic reforms, the country has developed a diverse commercial agriculture sector to meet domestic and global demands. At present, a comprehensive restructuring program is being promoted as the sector stands at a crossroads of both opportunities and challenges.
Forest policy and administration
Key Laws: Circular No. 34/2009 / TT-BNNPTNT on the criteria for determining and classifying forests (2009); Decree No.117/2010/ND-CP on Organization and Management of the Special-Use Forest System (2010); Land Law (2013); Law on Forestry (2017)—replaced Law on Forest Protection and Development (2004).
All land and the natural resources found under or on it is owned by the people through the state in Vietnam. However, the state recognizes long-term, alienable usage rights over both land and resources. Those with these usage rights in forest land are known as “forest owners.”
Forest and Forestry
The Government of Vietnam considers forests an important ecological resource, valuable for the socio-economic development and well-being of communities throughout the country. Forests play a major role in adapting to climate change as well as in regular environmental functions such as preventing erosion and maintaining water circulation. Both forest and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are important sources of nutrition. Forests also have a social function, contributing to job creation and incomes. At present, there are about 25 million Vietnamese people for whom 20%, or by some estimates up to 40%, of their annual income comes from the forest.
Ethnic minorities and indigenous people
Vietnam is considered a multi-ethnic country, made up of 54 ethnic groups. The Kinh ethnic group makes up 85.4% of Vietnam’s population, or 78.32 million people. The remaining 53 ethnic groups make up only 14.6% of the country’s population.
Although Vietnam voted in favour of UNDRIP, the government does not recognize ethnic minorities as indigenous peoples. Instead, the government uses the term “ethnic minority” to refer to everyone but the Kinh majority. The focus of the Vietnamese government is on “unity in diversity”.
Vietnam's Population and Census
Vietnam’s population and housing census is conducted every ten years and begins on April 1st. The country has conducted four population and housing censuses since the revolution in 1975, specifically in April of 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009.1 The fifth population and housing census in 2019 will aim to collect information about national indicators and some sustainable development indicators.
Vietnam is vulnerable to CC. It ranks the fifth in climate risk in the Global Climate Risk Index for 2018 (CRI) and eighth in the Long-Term Climate Risk Index (CRI), a list of the 10 countries most affected by extreme weather events from 1997 to 2016 (annual averages).
Aid and development
International aid plays a significant but decreasing role in Vietnam’s national expenditure. The nature of development assistance has changed a lot over time. Previously aid came largely from developed countries members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), however recently, China, Arab countries, multilateral organisations, and private philanthropy is having a larger influence on how aid is accessed in Vietnam.
At the end of 2015, Vietnam had only met 3 of the 8 Millennium Development Goals. Now as they report on the first Voluntary National Review at the 2018 High Level Political Forum the work over the last two years to align Vietnam’s Sustainable Development Goals are highlighted in this examination of the localisation and monitoring progress of Vietnam.
Become a data partner
Join the Mekong information ecosystem by contributing important and relevant data on pressing topics related to Vietnam and its people.
Photo: ODV, license CC BY SA 2.0
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Public Security have connected the national database on land with the national database on the population including 18 types of information.The two ministries included information about land users, ownership of assets attached to land, ...
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) is developing a legal document to specify fees for recycling products and packages, which is expected to be applicable in 2024.Under the Law on Environment 2020 and the Government’s Decree No. 08, the recycling of products and ...
Viet Nam climbed seven places to the 55th in the 2022 Government Artificial Intelligence (AI) Readiness Index, according to an annual index report by the UK’s Oxford Insights. With an overall score of 53.96 out of 100, the nation ranked 6th in ASEAN, higher than ...
The gender imbalance of newborns in Vietnam this year is considered “severe,” with 113.7 boys being born for every 100 girls, according to the General Office for Population and Family Planning.The gender imbalance could be attributed to some people preferring sons to daughters, as well ...
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) on December 26 held a training conference on disseminating information on the national target programme on socio-economic development in mountainous and ethnic-inhabited areas in the 2021-2025 period.The programme’s objectives are to exploit potential and advantages of localities in ...
The Vietnam Investor Map has been developed through research and a consultative process with 30 government stakeholders, think tanks, enterprises, and leading impact and commercial investors to produce tangible market intelligence. Such insights provide tangible investment opportunities that lie at the intersection of government policy ...
This report focuses on promoting low-carbon rice production systems in Vietnam. There are many sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the agricultural sector in Vietnam, including along value chains and within the whole agri-food context. However, because rice production is so important to the ...
This policy brief describes how production-driven partnerships between forest communities and the private sector, with government support, can improve livelihoods and economic development while restoring forest landscapes. It addresses the lack of effective, self-sustaining models for community livelihood development based on the sustainable trade of ...