Support to Economic Reform
Sweden contributed to the reform process through study tours to Sweden with policy dialogue, training, research and technical assistance. Sweden’s support for the reform process in Vietnam was highly appreciated by government agencies and senior government officials.
In fact, Sweden was the only donor providing support to the reform in the critical 1989-1991 period when the Vietnamese government was making major decisions about the structure and function of their socialist oriented market economy. Sweden also supported the drafting of a series of laws including laws on bankruptcy, civil court, competition and economic integration. The support towards a market economy and Doi Moi at large is highlighted by key stakeholders involved in the process:
“You ask about the role of Sweden in the Doi Moi reform process. We would have done it ourselves of course. We would not have collapsed their help was not that vital, but it would have been at a higher cost for us. It would have been difficult for us and would have been slower”.
(Dr.Le Dang Doanh, Former Senior Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister).
“Nobody in Vietnam at that time thought that you could privatize a big bank or that a large petrochemical company could be equitized. Knowledge of market economic concepts at National Economics University (NEU) was very low and virtually non- existent. In NEU, we had a structure and curriculum that reflected a central command economy. Sida was one of our earliest friends and helped us change our way of thinking about market economics”.
(Professor Phan Quang Trung, Vice Rector, National Economics University).
“We were starting from a very low base... Sida were the first to help us with international principles of tax and movement to a market economy. Sida was very effective and non-conditional in their support. They just assisted us to do what we wanted and there was a high level of ownership on our side. Sida was the first-ever donor to apply the programme pproach, so we can bring into effect our own projects”.
(Dr. Nguyen Than Do, Director-General, Department of Debt and Foreign Finance Management, Ministry of Finance).