Education About Asia: Online Archives

Viet Nam’s Economy in Transition: Successes and Challenges

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Việt Nam’s twentieth century economic development was interrupted by long years of destructive warfare and stunted by the  distortions of central planning. During the last two decades, however, under the reform policy known as Đổimới (renovation), Việt Nam’s economy has made tremendous strides, establishing the institutions of a market system and dramatically improving living standards. A land of rich natural resources that nonetheless struggled to feed its own population under previous economic regimes, Vietnamese agriculture now meets the country’s own needs and has become a major supplier in world markets, most notably of rice, coffee, and seafood. Industrial growth has been stimulated not only by rapid increases in foreign trade and by foreign investors drawn by the country’s young and literate work force, but also by thriving domestic markets, epitomized by a nationwide boom in private housing construction. The international population of overseas Vietnamese—the Việt Kieu—have contributed growing amounts of funds, business contacts, and advanced skills to the increasingly sophisticated modern segments of the economy.