AustralAsia Centre Opens a Door to Vietnam
Chairman of the ANZ bank Charles Goode AC and Richard Woolcott AC, founding director of the Asia Society AustralAsia Centre, co-led a senior business delegation to Vietnam from April 15 through 17, 2009. The visit was timely in that it showed confidence in Vietnam’s future prospects during the global economic crisis and was warmly welcomed by the Vietnamese Government.
The mission was received in Hanoi by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and six key Ministers, Vice-Ministers, or Deputy Ministers of Finance, Education, Transport, Planning and Investment, Industry and Trade, and Foreign Affairs.
In Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), the delegation was received by the vice-chairperson of the HCMC People’s Committee, Mme. Nguyen Thi Hong.
The group also participated in meetings with Vietnamese business groups, economic commentators, and young entrepreneurs in both Hanoi and HCMC.
Vietnam has been affected by the global economic crisis. However, it is resilient and is less affected than other ASEAN countries (with the exception of Indonesia). Vietnam seems likely to be one of the first Asian countries to move out of the global economic crisis.
Vietnam’s main assets are continued political stability and the industrious, competitive, and entrepreneurial nature of its people. 60% of the population of 87 million is under the age of 30, and the size of the Vietnamese economy is predicted to more than double by 2020.
The government at present allocates 20% of the total budget to education. It is also government policy to make English the country’s first language by 2020. 14,000 Vietnamese students are at present studying in Australia.
Vietnam has a growing domestic market which is expected to exceed 100 million in 10 years. Prime Minister Dung and other ministers maintain the government will continue to give a high priority to reform, education, training, and infrastructure development, especially in power supply and telecommunication.
The Centre regards the visit as having been worthwhile, timely, and successful, especially in emphasizing the Australian private sector’s confidence in Vietnam’s future and the opportunities for Australian investment in a country which has excellent medium- and long-term growth prospects.