Vietnam 2035: Towards Prosperity, Creativity, Equity, and Democracy
The year 2015 marks 70 years since Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence, 40 years since Reunification, and just short of 30 years from the launch of Doi Moi, which catapulted the nation from the ranks of the world’s poorest to one of its great development success stories. Critical ingredients of success have been visionary leaders, a sense of shared societal purpose, and a focus on the future. Starting in the late 1980s, these elements were fused with the embrace of markets and the global economy, setting the nation on the path to becoming the middle-income country that it is today. Its spectacular growth since then, one of the fastest in the world, has all but eliminated extreme deprivation and lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty. Looking forward to 2035, which will mark 60 years since its reunification, Vietnam now aspires to modernity, industrialization, and a higher quality of life. These aspirations and the supporting policy and institutional agenda stand on three pillars: balancing economic prosperity with environmental sustainability, promoting equity and social inclusion, and bolstering the state’s capacity and accountability. The rapid growth needed to achieve these aspirations will be sustained only if it stands on faster productivity growth and reflects the costs of environmental degradation. Productivity growth, in turn, will benefit from measures to enhance the competitiveness of domestic enterprises, scale up the benefits of urban agglomeration, and nurture a creative and innovation-led economy. Maintaining the record on equity and social inclusion will require lifting marginalized groups and delivering services to an aging and urbanizing middle-class society. And to fulfill the country’s aspirations, the institutions of governance will need to become modern, transparent, and fully rooted in the rule of law.