WB Offers Over US$300 Million to Support Vietnam’s Urban Governance Improvement, Post-Pandemic Recovery

9:29:07 AM | 1/7/2021

The World Bank (WB) has approved two development policy operations (DPO), totaling US$321.5 million, to support Vietnam’s recovery efforts, as stated in a press release issued by the financial institution on June 30.

 

These two operations are designed to support the central government and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s biggest business hub, in their efforts to improve urban management and promote a recovery that is inclusive, digitally transformative, and sustainable.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the need for Vietnam to accelerate reforms required to achieve its goal of becoming a high-income economy by 2045,” said Carolyn Turk, WB Country Director for Vietnam. “The country must not only manage the immediate effects associated with the pandemic, but also build the foundations for a green recovery in the longer-term.”

The first operation, worth US$221.5 million, will focus on policy actions that will make the recovery more inclusive, through support to childcare, mobile money, e-governance, and renewable energy.

By improving access to affordable and quality childcare, this project will help tackle one of the greatest barriers to workplace equality in industrial parks. Support for the adoption of mobile money is aimed at the increased use of financial services among unbanked households, which remain the majority in the country.

Efforts to develop e-governance will help facilitate a digitally-transformative recovery in the country and will lead to the provision of more efficient and comprehensive public services for Vietnamese citizens and firms, while the increased uptake of renewable energy will assist the country in prioritising solar-power projects as greener, less carbon-intensive alternatives to coal, according to the WB.

The institution said the second operation, with an amount of US$100 million, will aid Ho Chi Minh City in promoting the use of integrated and transparent spatial information for urban management. This activity is designed to strengthen the management of public assets and liabilities, while simultaneously enhancing the delivery of priority municipal services - three central elements for efficiently governing a modern city.

The reforms aimed at streamlining business registration procedures and providing better access to planning information will help improve the city’s business environment, which, in turn will, attract private participation, boost productivity gains, and create jobs. By enhancing the effective management of municipal public debt and assets, the operation is expected to help increase fiscal efficiency and generate additional revenue over time. Citizens will benefit from higher-quality municipal services in the long run, following reforms to promote competitive and transparent procedures in the transport and real estate sectors.

Furthermore, this operation will help the city mitigate its climate vulnerabilities, through improved transparency on climate-informed land zoning, expanded drainage coverage, and the expected modal shift from private transport to less carbon-intensive public transport. It will also promote gender equity by encouraging the use of public transport by women and girls through better connectivity and personal safety.

Financing for the national DPO comes from the International Development Association (IDA) and financing for the Ho Chi Minh City DPO comes from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

Source: NDO