Vietnam prosperity trails peer rankings

By Nguyen Quy   December 2, 2019 | 11:00 pm PT
Vietnam prosperity trails peer rankings
A woman waits for customers as she sells balloons on the roadside in Hanoi, 2018. Photo by AFP/Nhac Nguyen.
Placed 85th among 167 economies in a global prosperity ranking, Vietnam trails most of its Southeast Asian peers.

With an overall score of 56.48 points, the country ascended 10 spots over a decade ago, according to Prosperity Index 2019 published by London-based think tank Legatum Institute.

The index ranked 167 countries and territories based on various socio-economic categories including safety and security, governance, social capital, investment environment, enterprise conditions, market access and infrastructure, economic quality, living conditions, health, education and the natural environment.

Vietnam fared particularly badly against its regional peers, falling far below Singapore (16th), Malaysia (41st), Indonesia (63rd), Thailand (66th), the Philippines (84th).

In Southeast Asia, Vietnam does better than  Laos (116th), Cambodia (122nd) and Myanmar (124th).

It performed most strongly in social capital (31st) and health (42nd).

In recent years, thanks to consistent quality and low costs, Vietnamese healthcare has become increasingly sought-after by foreign patients.

The biggest improvement compared to a decade ago came in market access and infrastructure with reliable electricity across Vietnam more accessible and increased connectivity to water services with an additional 20 million people enjoying piped water, the report stated.

Vietnam boasts the most improved living conditions over the past decade, ranked 86th this year. Those living on under $1.9 a day has reduced from 20 percent of the population in 2009 to 2 percent, and the prevalence of undernourishment has fallen from 18 percent to 11 percent, it was revealed.

However, the country scored poorly in enterprise conditions (100th), investment environment (109th), and natural environment (92nd).

Denmark proved the most prosperous country in the world, followed by Norway and Switzerland.

"The Asia-Pacific region is the most-improved region over the last decade. Although it is still the fifth ranked region, it has overtaken the global average, and very nearly closed the gap with Latin America and the Caribbean," the report concluded.

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