Yen Bai, a Northern mountainous province far away from Ha Noi, Hai Phong, border gates and other major economic centres, has favourable conditions for foreign investment. Yen Bai is facing more difficulties than other plain provinces as the local budget can only satisfy 30-40 per cent of the regular spending needs, the rest is subsidized by the State. The province has a small population of which, however, nearly 50 per cent are ethnic minorities who suffer low education levels and poor economic development. The mountainous part of Yen Bai stretches over 7 districts with 70 communes, accounting for 64.4 per cent of the total area and 30.2 per cent of the total population of the province.
In recent years, thanks to its great efforts, the province has gained positive results in ODA attraction, while successfully strengthening and widening co-operation relations with international donors and organizations. In the period of 2001-2005, foreign investment has significantly contributed to the socio-economic development of the province. It helped shift positively the provincial economic structure, develop local production and increase productivity, raise the people’s educational background, solve social issues and improved the people’s living standards.
Based upon the guidelines in attracting and utilizing the ODA capital, Yen Bai province has given top priority to improving infrastructure, particularly in the mountainous and remote areas. From 2001 to 2005, Yen Bai carried out 12 ODA projects with the total committed amount reaching VND 541,430 million of which the disbursed amount was VND 457,778 million, accounting for 83.5 per cent of the committed one.
Yen Bai for long has been a poor province with backward infrastructure. The transport system is being degraded. Now, thanks to ODA projects, the transport infrastructure has been greatly improved, particularly the rural transport network. These transport projects have upgraded and rehabilitated 18 traffic lines with a total length of 162.76 km, and constructed 21 bridges and culverts. As a result, at present, 100 per cent of the communes in the province are accessible by car. This has greatly helped boost the economic exchange in the province; the transport of commodities and materials for production to remote areas has, therefore, been improved considerably.
With VND 85,914 million of ODA for developing the national power network, Yen Bai has constructed 32 low tension power works. In 2005, 98.11 per cent of the communes have access to the national power network and 71 per cent of households have access to electricity. Irrigation works have also been given due attention with many works constructed and upgraded. So far, 129 irrigation works have been implemented with a total investment of VND 71,922.8 million, supplying water for over 4,400 ha of fields, creating favourable conditions for intensive farming and improving productivity. 39 water supplies have been built, of which 4 are in Mau A town (Van Yen), Son Thinh town (Van Chan), Yen The town (Luc Yen), and Co Phuc town (Tran Yen), and the other 35 are in those mountainous and remote areas that meet great difficulties in water supply for daily life. These water resource works have helped ensure the regular supply of fresh water for 16,859 families, contributing to increasing the people’s health and living standards.
The ODA capital has also been appropriately allocated to upgrading and constructing the social welfare works. Up to now, 18 village hospitals with a total area of 1,748.5m2 have been built; 7 village central markets with a total area of 1.820m2 have been opened, thus facilitating the production and the exchange of goods of the local people.
Over the past years, with ODA investment, the educational infrastructure of the province has also developed remarkably. 235 schools have been strengthened and comprehensively equipped with furniture, toilets and wells. The problem of lacking classrooms and temporary classrooms has been completely solved, making it possible to realize the target of compulsory primary education.
In general, the ODA projects in Yen Bai province have been implemented in due course, with correct purposes and high quality. All of the works are being put into full play. This is a positive factor, serving as a driving force for the province to realize its cause of socio-economic development.