Overview of Australia's aid program to Vietnam
How we are helping
2015/16 Bilateral Budget Estimate
2015/16 Total Australian ODA Estimate
The Australian Government will provide an estimated $89.6 million in total ODA to Vietnam in 2015-16. This will include an estimated $58.4 million in bilateral funding to Vietnam managed by DFAT.
Australia and Vietnam’s partnership extends across political, security, economic and people-to-people activities. Australians born in Vietnam represent the fifth largest migrant community in Australia, and around 24,000 Vietnamese students enrol in education institutions in Australia each year. Vietnam is one of our fastest growing trade partners, and is central to regional security in South East Asia. The country’s further development as a strong trade and investment partner is vital to our national interest and the region’s prosperity.
Vietnam experienced remarkably rapid economic growth in the past two decades. However, there are constraints to continued growth. Businesses are constrained by the lack of a skilled workforce and private sector growth is constrained by poor infrastructure and an uncertain policy environment. Inequality is a continuing challenge, with 15 million people living below the national poverty line. Gender disparities still exist and Vietnam is one of few countries in which the gender pay gap has widened over the last decade. Ethnic minorities have still not benefitted equally from economic growth – although they comprise just 15 per cent of the population, they account for around half of those living in poverty.
Vietnam’s Socio Economic Development Strategy (SEDS) 2011-20 provides the country’s overarching policy for responding to these challenges. It sets three high priorities – improving market institutions, promoting human resources, and infrastructure development – and highlights the need for a combination of structural reforms, macroeconomic stability, environmental sustainability, and social equity.
Australia’s commitment to development cooperation with Vietnam is ongoing. Reflecting our maturing economic partnership, we will continue to leverage Vietnam’s significant domestic resources and foreign investment, and support Vietnam’s efforts to enter a new phase of economic development. By helping to stimulate the private sector, upskill the workforce, and support inclusive growth, we will contribute to achieving our shared, overarching goal of promoting prosperity and reducing poverty in Vietnam.
Our program is organised around the following three mutually reinforcing objectives as outlined in the Aid Investment Plan 2015-20.
Objective 1: Enabling and engaging the private sector for development
Improving market institutions and infrastructure is essential to Vietnam’s ongoing development. Australia is helping Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport prepare high-quality projects that address transport infrastructure gaps, prioritizing a small number of infrastructure investments that promote the benefits of new engineering or contracting approaches for improved efficiency. We are also providing support to increase women’s engagement in a largely male-dominated sector.
We are supporting economic reform by drawing on international experience in areas such as competition policy to help level the playing field for the private sector. We will help identify innovative approaches that improve firms’ access to finance by reducing the cost of credit and build their capacity.
Objective 2: Assisting the development and employment of a highly-skilled workforce
A skilled workforce that is harnessed by successful business will assist Vietnam to move into a new phase of growth and invest in innovation, ensuring that domestic industries can remain competitive. Australia will support Vietnam in its efforts to develop a skilled workforce by engaging with the private sector to ensure training meets industry’s needs.
Our Australia Awards Scholarships continue to promote Vietnam’s human development, with an increased focus on targeting skills development and workplace productivity in priority sectors. We will promote participation among women, people with disability and members of ethnic minorities.
Objective 3: Promoting women’s economic empowerment, including ethnic minorities
Empowering women to participate actively in the economy is critical to reducing poverty and building a sustainable economy. Our assistance is supporting women’s economic empowerment by: promoting opportunities for women in the formal sector, and the expansion of women-led small to medium enterprises, contributing to more inclusive economic growth; and helping to close the gender gap in economic livelihoods in some of Vietnam’s poor and remote communities.
- In 2014, 185 conditional Australia Awards Scholarships were provided to Vietnamese citizens (62 per cent to women).
- The Cao Lanh Bridge connectivity project—Australia’s largest single aid activity in mainland Southeast Asia—remains on schedule for completion by 2017, and will create significant economic efficiencies in the Long Xuyen City region through improved transport efficiency.
- In 2014–15 nearly 2000 people were trained in trade policy
- In 2014-15 an additional 64,500 people were able to access clean water
- The Economic Diplomacy Fund, launched by our embassy in Hanoi, supported projects promoting private sector linkages in the water sector (DFAT); women in police leadership training (AFP); food safety awareness, and aviation safety (Austrade).
Our changing program
Our changing aid program in Vietnam reflects the priority areas of the Vietnamese Government - improving market institutions, promoting human resources, and infrastructure development - and areas where Australia is best positioned to support Vietnam’s continued economic development. Following the release of the 2015-16 aid budget and consultations with program partners, we have consolidated investments to focus on three main areas - enabling and engaging the private sector for development, assisting the development and employment of a highly-skilled workforce, promoting women’s economic empowerment, including ethnic minorities.
We will reduce our contribution to the World Bank Multi-sector Trust Fund (2012-16). Although we will not renew several standalone investments, we will integrate human rights, climate change, disaster risk reduction and anti-corruption across all our programs. We will shift our existing ten-year engagement with the Government of Vietnam on water and sanitation toward an approach that leverages private sector investment. Whilst the number of Australia Awards Scholarships will be scaled back from 140 to 100 for the 2016 intake, we will introduce greater flexibility to support targeted short course awards. Our small scale involvement in health will conclude by the end of 2015.
The Direct Aid Program in Northern Vietnam 2016-2017
The Direct Aid Program (DAP) in Northern Vietnam is a flexible small grants program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and administered by the Embassy of Australia in Hanoi. DAP in Northern Vietnam covers provinces north of, and including, Thua Thien Hue province. The Australian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City manages a DAP scheme for projects south of, and including, Da Nang City.
DAP projects should be aimed primarily at achieving practical and tangible outcomes, such as on poverty alleviation, community health; schools/education; small-scale infrastructure; rural development; youth; gender equality, the environment and ad hoc humanitarian relief.
Proposals that provide direct benefits to those most in need in the local community, including vulnerable or disadvantaged groups, people with disabilities, women, children and youths are strongly encouraged.
In 2016-17, to more effectively target DAP towards communities most in need, the program will continue to focus on Vietnam’s remote, rural and mountainous northern provinces, which are disproportionately poor and disadvantaged. Ha Giang and other northeast provinces will be a region of particular focus in 2016-17.
Proposals from other regions will also be considered, but priority will be given towards the areas mentioned above.
Applications and enquiries
Most grants provided are normally in the range of AU$10,000-20,000 but in special cases grants of up to AU$60,000 are available.
DAP in Northern Vietnam is an extremely competitive program. Applications must meet the requirements detailed in the DAP Guidelines available here to be considered. Applications must conform with the requirements in the application form available here.
Applications may be lodged until 22 July 2016 via Direct Aid Program Officer, Australian Embassy, 8 Dao Tan Street, Hanoi. Please direct enquiries to (84) 4 37740116 or firstname.lastname@example.org