Vietnam consistently rates poorly in global measures of private sector development. Vietnam is ranked 82nd out of 190 countries in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index and the quality of infrastructure, the business environment and institutions are reported as major constraints to growth. There is an infrastructure backlog and investment needs are beyond current government resources. Many Vietnamese still live in remote and rural areas with limited access to services and markets. Better infrastructure and ongoing economic reform is needed for Vietnam to reduce poverty and reach its ambition of becoming an industrialised country by 2020.
Australia is working with Vietnam to build new and better infrastructure with a focus on the Mekong Delta, the fastest growing region in Vietnam. It is a major source of food production and industrial output. But there are critical supply-side constraints to linking producers and consumers. Our infrastructure investments are opening up opportunities for trade within the Mekong and with the rest of the world. We are helping connect people to essential services such as hospitals and schools. We have contributed through investments that improve local and regional connectivity to services. We continue to provide advice to the Government of Vietnam on ways to encourage private sector funding to building infrastructure.
Under our new phase of support we are helping Vietnam to identify good practice examples, appropriate for the Vietnam context, to assist their economic restructuring. We are working closely with Australian economic institutions to share Australia's experience of increasing competition in the economy and long-term reforms that will improve productivity.
Read more: Enabling and engaging the private sector for development [PDF 176 KB]
Cao Lanh Bridge
$160 million, 2011-2018
Australia co-financed the design, supervision and construction of the Cao Lanh Bridge across the Mekong River to facilitate trade and economic growth in the region. This bridge is a vital part of a major new road transport link called the Central Mekong Delta Connectivity Project, which will link people and markets in the Mekong Delta to the rest of South-East Asia and beyond. The bridge is two kilometres long, six lanes wide and sits 37.5 metres above the Mekong River. It will service 170,000 road users a day. The bridge is the largest single Australian aid activity in mainland South-East Asia.
Australia provided funding for the design and construction supervision for the Cao Lanh Bridge. A strong technical design that mitigates risks has been a focus of Australian support including ensuring the bridge can withstand the impacts of climate change. Social challenges related to increased trade and regional connectivity, such as the risks of human trafficking, have also been considered.