Vietnam wants low-interest World Bank loans to fund infrastructure

By Viet Tuan   November 14, 2023 | 11:11 pm PT
Vietnam wants low-interest World Bank loans to fund infrastructure
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) welcomes Manuela Ferro, World Bank vice president for East Asia and Pacific in Hanoi on Nov. 14, 2023. Photo by Vietnam Government Portal/Nhat Bac
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has sought World Bank funding for major infrastructure projects at the lowest possible interest rates.

They include expressways, urban infrastructure, water supply and drainage systems, metro systems, the North-South high-speed railroad, and the Ho Chi Minh City-Can Tho City railroad, he told Manuela Ferro, the bank’s vice president for East Asia and Pacific, at a meeting Tuesday.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC)'s regional vice president for Asia and the Pacific, Riccardo Puliti, and its vice president and treasurer, John Gandolfo, also took part in the meeting.

Others for which the PM requested funding were digital transformation, renewable energy, power transmission, smart agriculture with low carbon emissions, Mekong Delta climate change mitigation, and one a program to grow high-quality rice on one million hectares.

He also proposed that the World Bank should speed up disbursement, especially for projects where regulations differ between it and Vietnam.

He called for simplifying bureaucracy on both sides, and tasked Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang with speeding up disbursement once the funds are received.

Vietnam considers the World Bank and its affiliate, the IFC, key partners in its economic development, and he recently met with its president, Ajay Banga, to discuss key projects, he said.

He wanted the IFC to help make the private sector a key pillar of the economy, especially industries like semiconductor, clean energy and electric vehicles.

Ferro said the bank would give Vietnam the best interest rates and agreed to the PM’s demand to speed up disbursement.

The bank has so far lent Vietnam $25 billion for 170 projects in transport infrastructure, agriculture, irrigation, rural development, and others.

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