Cooperation between Vietnam and Finland focuses on supporting the private sector
Vietnam has succeeded in significantly reducing poverty. The number of Vietnamese living in extreme poverty has decreased to approximately three per cent, down from the over 50% in the early 1990s. Vietnam has been a lower-middle-income country (lower MIC) since 2010 and it aspires to reach upper-middle-income status by 2025. Nowadays, poverty is concentrated in remote rural areas, while people living in urban areas have considerably higher average income levels.
However, rapid economic development and urbanisation have created problems, too. The Vietnamese are concerned about air and water pollution, inadequate waste treatment and food safety. Adaptation to climate change is a crucial issue in Vietnam, which is one of the countries most affected by climate change in the world.
The Vietnamese economy has grown rapidly in recent decades, and its economic growth is estimated to continue in the coming years. The country has opened up rapidly to international trade. Several Finnish companies operate in Vietnam, of which some are established in the country or have permanent operations there.
In commercial projects, contacts established through development cooperation have been useful. Potential sectors that open up opportunities for commercial cooperation include circular economy, climate solutions, the education sector, and sustainable forestry. Recently, several possible cooperation projects have been identified in the energy sector.
Vietnam is one of the target countries where the Developing Markets Platform (DevPlat)(Link to another website.) model is applied. DevPlat is a funding model through which Finnish companies and their partners can access developing country markets, make use of global development finance, and integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their business activities. Innovative activities and partnerships in Vietnam that are in line with the principles of sustainable development can be supported through country-specific projects.
Vietnam is also one of the countries where projects are carried out under the Public Sector Investment Facilty (PIF) and a bilateral framework agreement between Finland and Vietnam is in force. The aim of the support is to promote projects in the public sector, making use of Finnish technology and expertise.
Five projects related to cooperation between government agencies are under way in Vietnam. The following Finnish government agencies take part in the cooperation: Finnish Meteorological Institute, Geological Survey of Finland, Finnish Food Authority, and Finnish Environment Institute. The projects cover the following themes: air quality and forecasts; the development of meteorological services; sustainable management of water resources; the development of the food chain quality management system for cold water fisheries; and the sustainability of forest resources. All projects emphasise economically and environmentally sustainable solutions.
Water sector cooperation between Finland and Vietnam began in the mid-1980s. Thanks to development cooperation projects, millions of people now have access to clean drinking water, known in Hanoi as ‘Finnish water’.
The Innovation Partnership Programme (2014-2018), which supports the development of Vietnam’s own innovation system, has raised the level of entrepreneurship and innovation training and enhanced support for growth companies. It has strengthened the national, local and international networks that are of central importance for innovation activities. The programme has also increased cooperation between state administration, research institutes, business incubators, other operators developing the ecosystem and businesses.
Thanks to the cooperation projects, the management of Vietnam’s forest resources and the availability of data on forests have improved. Based on the forest data system project (2013-2018), a nationwide forest data system has been developed, which the Vietnamese forest administration uses for monitoring, decision-making and reporting in the sector. A wood industry project, launched by the Natural Resources Institute Finland in 2021, builds on the forest data system project and takes forward the system’s implementation and related training.
Team Finland cooperation
Finland has a strong Team Finland network in Vietnam, with offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The Finnish mission works in close cooperation with Business Finland. Finland’s honorary consul in Vietnam also promotes team Finland’s objectives.