Vietnam climbs into UN high human development group

By Nguyen Quy   December 17, 2020 | 12:45 am PT
Vietnam climbs into UN high human development group
Students in Hanoi perform a flag salute ceremony to kick off the new school year, September 5, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Vietnam has joined the high human development group based on the U.N.’s Human Development Index, and risen one spot to 117th out of 189 economies in the index.

Its 2019 HDI score rose to 0.704, which put it in the group. To make the group countries need a score of 0.700-0.799.

Vietnam’s score has risen by 45 percent in the past 30 years, according to a report released this week by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), ranking economies based on life expectancy, education, per capita income, gender gap, and poverty.

Since 1990 its score has grown at an average of 1.31 percent a year, make it one of the world's 20 fastest-growing.

However, in Southeast Asia, it trails Singapore (11th), Brunei (47th), Malaysia (62nd), Thailand (79th), and Indonesia and the Philippines (107th).

Over the last 20 years life expectancy in Vietnam increased by 4.8 years, its mean years of schooling by four years and expected years of schooling by 4.9 years, the report said.

Per capita income rose to $7,433 on purchasing power parity (PPP) basis in 2019 from $6,220 in 2018.

PPP is a measurement of prices of certain goods in various countries to find out relative purchasing power. Over the last 20 years it has risen by 370 percent.

The country has also performed well in fostering gender equality with its gender development index of 0.997 placing it in 65th position.

Vietnamese women hold 26.7 percent of parliamentary seats and 66.4 percent attain at least secondary level of education compared to 78.2 percent for men.

Female participation in the labor market is 72.7 percent compared to 82.4 for men.

Vietnam has also performed well in reducing multi-dimensional poverty with only 4.9 percent of its population being categorized as poor and another 5.6 percent as vulnerable to multidimensional poverty.

The report warned Vietnam would continue to face challenges in terms of gender inequality. The country ranks among the bottom third in terms of sex ratio at birth (1.12), violence against women by non-intimate partners (34.4 percent) and women with accounts in financial institutions or with mobile money service providers (30.4 percent).

"Vietnam’s high human development is a remarkable achievement and also creates opportunities for greater and more rapid progress in the coming development period," UNDP Vietnam resident representative Caitlin Wiesen said in a press release.

"The country is at a critical juncture as it designs its next socio-economic development strategy, with decisions made today determining whether it will continue on it current path of growth and low inequality, and whether it can simultaneously shift to reducing pressure on the planet."

She also hailed Vietnam for embarking firmly on people-centered development and prioritizing human development and equality in its socio-economic development strategies and plans.

Norway topped the index, followed by Ireland and Switzerland. Hong Kong and Iceland completed the top five.

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