A critical examination of poverty reduction initiatives in Vietnam
Son, Thanh Tung
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Poverty has always been a critical concern over centuries. Though mankind has progressed in technology and economic development and the fight against poverty has gained remarkable achievements over the past five decades, a significant part of the world, around one billion people, remains living in extreme poverty, particularly in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia. Vietnam, a developing country in SouthEast Asia, has progressed from a poor country in 1980s to a middle income country nowadays with the living standards of the Vietnamese remarkably improved in many dimensions. However, many Vietnamese families are still living in very low standards and particularly many ethnic minorities are lagging behind during the development process. Poverty remains a main challenge for the country on its development process. From this reality, this research examines poverty reduction initiatives in Vietnam in a broader context of international framework as well as the country’s development patterns and its socio-political system. In order to analyse poverty reduction initiatives in Vietnam, the researcher first studied international literature on poverty concepts and measurements articulated by scholars around the world over time. At the same time, he analysed the strategies to cope with world poverty advanced by international development agencies such as the World Bank and the United Nations over the past decades. This analysis serves as an evidence base to focus on Vietnam to see how the country has tackled poverty over the recent decades given its development patterns and socio-political system and how it adopted the international approach in its own strategies. The research showed that the development patterns and socio-political system of Vietnam have conditioned the formulation and implementation of poverty reduction strategies. On one hand, they facilitate Vietnam to approach poverty in its own way to meet its socio-economic features. On the other hand, the socio-political system results in quite a few challenges during the implementation of poverty reduction policies. The research indicates that an in-depth knowledge of a country’s development process as well as its social and political systems is a necessity to understand as well as better formulate policies.