Thursday, December 02, 2004

Donors pledge $3.5 billion for 2005

International donors pledged $3.5 billion in aid to Vietnam for 2005, up from $2.8 billion this year, while urging the government to battle graft, raise transparency and speed up legal reform. According to Reuters reporter, Nguyen Nhat Lam, "despite healthy economic expansion of 7 percent a year, Vietnam relies on foreign help to build schools, clinics, roads and power grids." World Bank director in Vietnam Klaus Rohland predicts Vietnam will join the World Trade Organization and complete its transition to a market economy within five years. Vietnam places poverty at 9% of the total population, although by international standards it would be closer to one-third. It ranks 102nd of 146 nations in a 2004 corruption survey conducted by Transparency International. (Reuters, Dec. 2; see also Associated Press/Forbes, Dec. 2; and Dec. 1 and Nov. 23 entries below).


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