Walking around in Ha Noi, Viet Nam’s capital, you can feel boundless energy everywhere. People whiz by on scooters, buy and sell everything from phones to food in the countless small shops, and run to and fro to get to school or work. Viet Nam is young, growing, and anything feels possible.
It wasn’t always thus. A mere 30 years ago, the country was one of the poorest in the world. How did this southeast Asian nation grow to become a middle-income country?
If you’ve been to Ha Noi, this description will definitely ring true. Read this article for a good partial answer to this question asked in the second paragraph. While you’re at it, check out the video overview. While it doesn’t cover all of the bases and you have to consider the source (IMF), it is pretty accurate. I try to stay up-to-date on economic statistics and trends but am also a long-term participant-observer in the exciting reality that is Viet Nam’s rapid development.
Having spent a considerable amount of time in Germany back in the day, both West and East, as a student, teacher, and researcher, I’m reminded of the German economic miracle (Wirtschaftswunder, also known as the “Miracle on the Rhine”). One stark difference between the two countries is that there was no Marshall Plan for Viet Nam.
In order to engineer its own “Miracle on the Red River,” Viet Nam first had to rely on itself – with assistance from the INGO (international non-governmental organization) community and Official Development Assistance (ODA) – before and after the Đổi Mới, or renovation, reforms of 1986, which gave rise to Viet Nam’s “market economy with socialist orientation.” (A lot of INGO funding has shifted to another countries with the rise of Viet Nam as a threshold middle-income country.) The rest, as they say, is history, and an inspirational one at that.