Viet Nam Country Dialogue 2004
November 20, 2004
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) New York, New York, United States
Since the start of the economic reform program doi moi (renovation) in 1989, Viet Nam has experienced consistently high growth rates and extraordinary achievements in poverty reduction. The country is on a steady path of integration into the world economy and is currently negotiating its terms of accession to the WTO.
As a part of its Country Dialogue program, the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD) organized a third visit to Viet Nam in November 2004, in partnership with UNDP, which provided financial and logistical support. The IPD team was comprised of Joseph Stiglitz, President of IPD Anya Schiffrin, Head of the IPD Journalism Program, and Robin Burgess, from the London School of Economics. This Dialogue was a follow-up to IPD's two previous Country Dialogues in Viet Nam, in 2001 and 2002.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
New York, New York, United States
The dialogue took place at the eve of the second Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) for 2006-2010, and preceded the twelfth donors Consultative Group Meeting. Professor Stiglitz and Professor Burgess gave lectures at universities in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Hanoi, including lectures at the Media Department of the National University of Hanoi. The IPD team met with the Prime Minister's Research Council, the Economic Commission of the Central Party Committee, the Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and other key government officials. The IPD team also held meetings with the donor community and representatives of Vinafood, Viet Nam's southern food corporation.
Viet Nam is a country transitioning from a central planning to a market economy. The central issues discussed included the right balance between the state and the market, the role of government intervention in the economy, and the appropriate approach to economic planning during transition. The topics of international economic integration, in particular WTO accession, structural change and inclusive growth, were debated at length. The accountability of civil servants and the role of the media in political and economic processes were also brought to the fore during the dialogue. The IPD team supplemented traditional thinking on many of Viet Nam's policy issues by encouraging participants to voice divergent views and engage in extensive debate.