Despite starting as one of the poorest countries in the mid-1980s, Vietnam has achieved rapid developmental progress, reaching lower middle-income status in 2010. In line with rapid economic growth, Vietnam has achieved impressive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during this time. This paper sheds light on some elements of Vietnam’s success story, highlighting crucial policies in education and electricity sectors. It undertakes a forward-looking costing exercise that focusses on five sectors – education, health, roads, water, and electricity infrastructure. Achieving the remaining SDGs in Vietnam will be a challenge, with total annual additional spending needs in the 5 subsectors estimated at 7 percent of GDP by 2030.
Ms. Dalia S Hakura, Mr. Mumtaz Hussain, Ms. Monique Newiak, Mr. Vimal V Thakoor, and Mr. Fan Yang
A growing body of empirical evidence suggests that inequality—income or gender related—can
impede economic growth. Using dynamic panel regressions and new time series data, this paper
finds that both income and gender inequalities, including from legal gender-based restrictions, are
jointly negatively associated with per capita GDP growth. Examining the relationship for countries
at different stages of development, we find that this effect prevails mainly in lower income
countries. In particular, per capita income growth in sub-Saharan Africa could be higher by as much
as 0.9 percentage points on average if inequality was reduced to the levels observed in the fastgrowing
emerging Asian countries. High levels of income inequality in sub-Saharan Africa appear
partly driven by structural features. However, the paper’s findings show that policies that influence
the opportunities of low-income households and women to participate in economic activities also
matter and, therefore, if well-designed and targeted, could play a role in alleviating inequalities.