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heading foldHow we are helping

2013/14 Estimated Outcome

$130.8 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate

$141.3 million

The My Thuan bridge in Vietnam

The Opening of the My Thuan bridge in Vietnam, 2007 (credit: DFAT).

Vietnam is an important regional partner for Australia. We share significant trade and investment interests. Vietnam has achieved strong economic growth and a large reduction in poverty in recent decades.

Australia’s aid focuses on progressing Vietnam’s greater economic integration in the region through support for transport infrastructure and economic reforms; strengthening Vietnam’s human resources; and improving environmental sustainability.

Australia is funding road infrastructure, with a focus on connecting Vietnam’s Mekong Delta to the mainland Southeast Asia region. In 2014-15, we will:

  • work with the Asian Development Bank on construction of the Cao Lanh Bridge, and complete the Southern Coastal Corridor road project by mid-2015
  • work with the World Bank to complete the upgrade of 24 kilometres of rural feeder roads.

Australia is also helping Vietnam explore alternative infrastructure financing models. In 2014-15, we will work with the World Bank and Government of Vietnam to attract private sector infrastructure investment through the country’s first public private partnership in the transport sector and building the Ministry of Transport’s skills to develop future public private partnership transactions.

In 2014-15, Australia will support the Government of Vietnam’s economic reform process by investing in the Restructuring for a More Competitive Vietnam initiative, which will deliver targeted analysis to inform Vietnam’s economic restructuring. This will help improve the environment for business and international competitiveness, implement effective competition policy, and productively restructure the rural economy.

Australia is providing education and training to improve Vietnam’s human resources through the Australia Awards programme, in liaison with Australian Education International. We provide awards to candidates from public and private sectors, targeting priority areas of economic integration, water and sanitation, and university teaching and research capacity. In 2014-15, Australia will award:

  • up to 185 Australia Awards Scholarships for post-graduate study in Australia
  • up to 100 Australia Awards Fellowships for training and work attachments with Australian organisations.

Hospitality students at KOTO in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam
Hospitality students at KOTO (Know One Teach One) in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam. KOTO is a not-for-profit restaurant and vocational training programme which is changing the lives of street and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam (credit: DFAT).

Australia is working with Vietnam to build resilience to natural disasters and the impacts of climate change. In cooperation with the Government of Vietnam, in 2014-15 we will:

  • assist communities—particularly in the vulnerable Mekong Delta—develop new farming practices and resilient livelihoods
  • support private sector investment in commercially viable clean technologies.

We will invest in agricultural research in Vietnam to increase productivity and enhance livelihoods. In 2014-15, Australia will support technical, agribusiness and enabling policy research to improve smallholder incomes in areas of high-value agriculture, aquaculture and forestry through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) programme.

Australia will provide financial support and technical assistance for the Government of Vietnam’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation National Target Program. By 2015, with Australian assistance:

  • 84 per cent of the rural population will have access to clean water
  • 63 per cent of rural households will have access to hygienic toilets.

Australia is supporting Vietnamese institutions that are critical to promoting effective governance, including human rights, anti-corruption and transparency. Activities with the Vietnam Women’s Union will build women’s economic empowerment through strengthened anti-domestic violence services, improved knowledge and implementation of laws promoting women’s rights, and improved access to legal services.

Archived details of expenditure for this program for 2013–14 can be found here.

Archived details of expenditure for DFAT’s aid program, following the Government’s announcement on 18 January 2014 to revise the aid budget, can be found here.


Results 2011-2012

  • In 2011 an additional 2.3 million people have access to clean water compared to 2010.
  • In 2011 an additional 455 275 households have access to hygienic latrines compared to 2010.
  • In 2011 76 per cent of the rural population had access to clean water and 52% of rural households had access to hygienic latrines.
  • Partnership with Clinton Foundation increased the number of children receiving HIV treatment in Vietnam from 245 in mid-2006 to 3536 in May 2012.

Commitments 2012-2013

  • Increase rural population access to clean water to 80 per cent and access of rural household to hygienic latrines to 57 per cent.


Results 2011-2012

  • In 2011 242 Australia Awards Scholarships were awarded for postgraduate study, commencing in Australia from 2012. The Awards are a major contribution to the development of Vietnam’s human resource base and will enhance professional and leaderships skills.

Commitments 2012-2013

  • Offer 272 long-term and 88 short-term Australia Awards Scholarships to Vietnam for the 2013 intake.
  • Undertake assessment of institutional impacts of scholarship program on selected government agencies.
  • Gender Action Plan for the Vietnam Program completed to facilitate effective integration and monitoring of gender equality across the program.

Economic development

Results 2011-2012

  • In 2011 an additional 96 kilometres of rural roads were constructed. A total of 236 kilometres is enabling 96,000 people in remote communes to have better access to markets and essential services.
  • In 2010 an Australian-funded project to improve flood management has freed 300,000 residents of North Vam Nao island from the threat of annual flooding and enabled farmers to plant crops three times a year.
  • As part of the Climate Change and Coastal Ecosystems program, more than 4.5 kilometres of protective fences were installed to improve the survival and growth rates of over 40 hectares of mangroves in Kien Giang’s vulnerable coastal areas.

Commitments 2012-2013

  • Complete detailed design of the Cao Lanh bridge in 2012.
  • Work with the World Bank to support Government put together its first major Public Private Partnership project in the transport sector.
  • To 2016, continue to work with Germany to help five provinces in the Mekong Delta respond to the impacts of a changing climate.
  • Mobilise six new partnerships with non government institutions for community-based climate change action.


Results 2011-2012

  • Strengthened the administration, promotion and protection of human rights in Vietnam.
  • Improved the Communist Party and Government’s capacity to tackle corruption.

Commitments 2012-2013

  • Support the Vietnam Human Rights Technical Cooperation Phase 4 (2012–2013). The program uses workshops, seminars and the development of resources to transfer knowledge and build expertise that advance the protection of human rights in Vietnam.
  • Update and revise the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation procurement manual.
  • From 2011–14, provide anti-corruption training to the Vietnamese Communist Party Inspectorate to support a number of prioritised areas identified in the Communist Party Anti-corruption Strategy to 2020.


Results 2011-2012

  • Completed a partnership with Oxfam and CARE Australia that helped over 250,000 people in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters through improved planning and awareness, small-scale infrastructure and livelihood activities.

Commitments for 2012-2013

  • In 2012–15, work with NGOs and the ADB to assist 750,000 people build their resilience to climate change and weather-based disasters.

Research overview

Good research can lead to positive change for the world’s poorest by enhancing the design and implementation of development policies and programs. That’s why Australian Aid is committed to an innovative research portfolio and funds research, including through:

  • competitive funding mechanisms (such as the Australian Development Research Awards)
  • research partnerships with Australian, international and developing country research institutions
  • commissioning research to address a specific question or clearly defined research gap, and
  • one-off research grants, when an existing program of research is relevant to the Australian aid program.

More information on how we fund research

Some of the recent highlights of this research on Vietnam development issues are listed below.

Economic Research on trade facilitation in the Mekong

A boy standing in front of the Friendship Bridge, which spans the Mekong River

Australia is supporting infrastructure initiatives to improve economic growth and poverty reduction in the Mekong.

Photo: Jim Holmes/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Published: August 2010.

Australian funding to infrastructure projects in Vietnam are part of a greater Mekong connectivity initiative to improve local people’s access to markets through infrastructure and trade reform.

In 2010, Australia commissioned the Centre for International Economics [external link] to produce a report on the economic benefits of increased trade and transport facilitation in the Greater Mekong Subregion to reinforce the economic case for Australia’s investments in these areas.

The report presents evidence to suggest that integration is playing an important role in the dynamic performance of the subregion, but that there is scope to expand this role by further reducing the costs of cross-border trade and transport. In most countries there is considerable room for improvement in trade and transport facilitation, and feasible changes could yield significant increases in national incomes. The evidence suggests that complementing infrastructure investments with procedural reforms to reduce costs and delays of cross-border trade could bring about sizeable economic benefits.

Vietnam Update

Held since 1990, the Vietnam Update is a series of annual conferences that focus on recent economic, political and social conditions in Vietnam and provide in-depth analysis into a select theme of particular relevance to Vietnam's socio-economic development.

The conferences feature Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese professionals presenting the results of research on recent developments and timely issues in Vietnam.

Each year the conference includes presentations on political and economic developments over the past year as well as papers that address the conference theme. Update themes in previous years have been: Vietnam's renovation policies, state/society relations, civil society, rural development, foreign investment, urbanisation, the media, development organisations, local governance, international relations, social inequality, religion, ethnic minorities, labour, education and migration.

2011 Report

Partners [external website]

This report documents the Vietnam Update Conference held 17–18 November 2011. The Conference, ‘The Environment: Change, Challenges and Contestations’, featured presentations from academics, PhD students and Vietnamese NGO workers. The Conference brought together Australian, Vietnamese and international participants.

Meeting the needs of women who inject drugs in Vietnam

As part of the Australian Development Research Awards, Australia is supporting the Nossal Institute for Global Health to undertake a collaborative investigation of the HIV-related risks, service needs and preferences of women who inject drugs in Vietnam.

The research will help to identify practical models to meet the needs of female injecting drug users by documenting their risks to HIV infection and transmission.

A number of reports, factsheets and briefs related to the grant can be found on the Nossal Institute for Global Health [external link] website.

Gendered risks, poverty and vulnerability in Vietnam

A Vietnamese woman

The report identifies that women and girls in Vietnam, especially among ethnic minority groups, are considerably disadvantaged in terms of the nature and quality of opportunities and resources available to them.

Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Published: October 2010

Vietnam has experienced growing policy momentum around social protection issues, motivated by a concern to reduce poverty and vulnerability. This is emphasised in the country's national development plans.

The focus of this Overseas Development Institute (ODI) [external link] report is the Government of Vietnam's flagship social protection program – the National Targeted Programme for Poverty Reduction.

The case study analyses the extent to which gender-specific economic and social risks, including food security, inform the national program’s design and implementation, with the aim of informing ongoing initiatives to strengthen social protection effectiveness.

The case study was undertaken as part of a larger research project [external link] funded by the UK Department for International Development and Australian Aid, under the Australian Development Research Awards, looking at gender and social protection effectiveness in Latin America, Sub Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Climate Change vulnerability in the Mekong Delta

A Vietnamese man planting mangroves

Mangrove planting is one adaptation strategy used by communities in Vietnam against climate change.

Photo: Michael Wightman/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Published: August 2010.

The Mekong Delta has been identified as one of the global hot spots for climate change. In response, Australia is working with countries to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, with a focus on Vietnam.

In 2010, Australia funded the CSIRO to work with the Mekong River Commission to produce a technical study on the likely impacts of climate change on water and food security in the lower Mekong basin. The study applies a number of scenarios to predict changes in rainfall and water flow and analyses the impacts of these changes on agriculture and aquaculture systems. The study also identifies potential adaptation strategies to reduce vulnerabilities for local populations.

Climate change vulnerability in the Mekong Delta

ADB: Climate Change Impact and Adaptation Study in Mekong Delta

Australia has combined funds with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to conduct research on climate impacts and adaptation in Ca Mau and Kien Giang provinces in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region. Part A of the research ‘Climate Change Vulnerability and Risk Assessment Study for Ca Mau and Kien Giang Provinces, Vietnam’ presents three key outputs:

  • an identification of future climate conditions in the Mekong Delta region
  • an assessment of the effects of future climate scenarios on natural, social, and economic systems in the Mekong Delta region
  • a baseline analysis of existing climate change capacity within the Government.

The study provides practical measures that provincial and district administrations can take to inform and strengthen their programs. Importantly, it addresses factors which may constrain or limit collaborative action between communities, leaders, experts and development partners and identifies themes and strategies for follow up work to be completed in Part B of the Project.

Read the main report and climate atlas for each province [ADB website]

Crafting sustainability: addressing water pollution in Vietnam’s craft villages

The Australian Development Research Assistance Grant Scheme funds the Australian National University to work with a key policy research agency in Vietnam to investigate how community-based approaches to water pollution in Vietnamese craft villages can successfully secure economic, social and environmentally sustainable water management.

Crafting sustainability: addressing water pollution in Vietnam’s craft villages [ANU website]


Where is Vietnam?

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Country statistics

Population: 87.8 million (2011)

Gross national income per capita: US$1,270 (2011)

GDP annual growth rate: 5.9% (2011)

Poverty headcount ratio at $1.25 a day (percentage of population): 16.9% (2008)

Net Enrolment Rate in Primary Education: 98%

Ratio of female to male primary enrolment: n/a

Mortality rate of children under 5 (per 1,000): 22 (2011)

Maternal mortality rate (per 100,000): 56 (2008)


heading foldWhy we give aid


Although Vietnam has reached lower Middle Income Country status, more than 33 million people still live on less than $2 per day. Most live in rural and remote communities with few services.

Helping Vietnam overcome poverty and gain sustainable development is in Australia’s national interest and important for regional prosperity and security.

Find out more about why we give aid to Vietnam


heading foldHow we give aid

The Australia – Vietnam Joint Aid Program Strategy guides Australia’s aid to Vietnam in priority areas. These priorities support Vietnam’s national poverty reduction strategy and plans for socio-economic development. In cooperation with other donors, we deliver aid through joint-programming with central and local governments, multilateral agencies and non-government organisations.

Australia recognises Vietnam’s ownership and leadership of the development agenda. Our aid is increasingly delivered through and helps strengthen the Government of Vietnam’s own systems.

Australia – Vietnam Joint Aid Program Strategy 2010–2015

Read our fact sheet on Australia's aid program in Vietnam

Read the Vietnam Aid Program Performance Report 2013-14


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

  • Eradicate extreme hunger & poverty
  • Universal primary education
  • Gender equality
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability

Last reviewed: 28 October, 2014