Bai Bang and the Side Projects
“The mill has had a very positive impact on the immediate locality, by providing secure employment and economic, educational and social benefits for its workers”. (Mandy Thomas, University of Western Sydney, as part of Sida’s 1999 Bai Bang Evaluation Report).
The establishment of Sweden-Vietnam diplomatic relations in 1969 was followed later the same year by the announcement of Swedish aid. The construction of a paper and pulp mill at Bai Bang consumed 2,8 billion SEK (440 million USD) of funding between1970 to the end of Swedish assistance in1995. The idea behind the project was simple, Sweden would provide support to Vietnam to construct an integrated pulp and paper mill that would create jobs and raise living standards in the region.
Bai Bang has grown from a village to a town with about 23,000 inhabitants today despite a number of challenges. Bai Bang has now become the largest paper mill in Vietnam, and one of the most modern and successful paper mills in the country employing around 3,500 workers, Bai Bang is producing about 40 percent of all the paper in Vietnam and is one of the largest manufacturers of toilet paper in the country.