The Hanoitimes - With the human development index (HDI) value of 0.694 in 2017, Vietnam ranked 116th out of 189 countries (the same rank as in 2016). It needs to obtain only additional 0.006 points to join the High Human Development group (0.700).
With accelerated efforts to reduce disparities at subnational levels and among population groups, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is confident that Vietnam could soon enter the High Human Development group in the near future, according to Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP country director in Vietnam.
"Vietnam human development index (HDI) growth rate of 1.41% since 1990 is just four spaces shy of the High Development group," said Wiesen in a conference launching report on Vietnam's Human Development Indicies and Indicators on October 17.
Overview of the meeting. Source: Ngoc Thuy.
Vietnam's HDI ranked upper end of the Medium Human Development. With the HDI value of 0.694 in 2017, Vietnam ranked 116th out of 189 countries (the same rank as in 2016). It needs to obtain only additional 0.006 points to join the High Human Development group (0.700), Wiesen added.
Additionally, the country is doing well in health and education dimensions but lagging on the Income component of the HDI. Vietnam's life expectancy at birth is 76.5 years - second in the Asia and the Pacific region, after South Korea. Means Years of Schooling is 8.2 - higher than the average of East Asia and Pacific region.
Turning to the 2018 global multidimensional poverty statistics, they show important progress towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on poverty. Vietnam's multidimensional poverty index (MPI) value is 0.0197 and the country ranks 31st out of 105 countries. Vietnam multidimensional poverty incidence of 5% is better than most of the countries in East Asia and Pacific region, just below Thailand (0.79%) and China (4.02%).
Challenges remain for inclusive growth
According to Achim Steiner, UNDP administrator, 1.3 billion people still live in multidimensional poverty, meaning they are not just poor in terms of income, they are also lacking in health, education, and living standards. And they risk falling behind further when faced with conflict, sickness, unemployment, or natural disaster.
In this context, Vietnam can be proud of its remarkable progress in reducing multi-dimensional poverty, lifting 6 million people out of poverty in only four years between 2012 - 2016, said Wiesen.
"The challenge is now addressing persistent poverty concentrated among ethnic minorities in geographically challenging environments," she added.
Vietnam's progress in Human Development comes with relatively less increase in inequality as compared to many other countries in the Asia and the Pacific region. Vietnam's inequality adjusted human development index (IHDI) shows there is 17.3% loss in HDI - less than the average of medium human development group (25.1%) but higher than the average of East Asia and Pacific region (15.6%).
It should also be noted that the national averages may mask disparities at subnational levels and population groups.
referring to the National Human Development Report in 2015, Wiesen highlighted big gaps between Vietnam's cities and provinces in HDI. For example, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang have similar HDI values of Very High Human Development countries such as Poland and Croatia, while Ha Giang and Lai Chau have HDI values similar to the Low Human Development countries such as Ghana and Guatemala.
In terms of Gender Inequality Index (GII), Vietnam ranks 67 out of 160 countries, with the GII value of 0.304 - close to average of High Human Development group (0.289). Moving forward, Vietnam needs to close the gaps in education component, where there is 11.5 percentage points between adult women and adult men in the secondary school attainment.
This together with an increase in female share of graduates in science, mathematics, engineering, manufacturing and construction at tertiary level (currently 15.4%) may help enhance Vietnam's comparative advantages in the context of Fourth Industrial Revolution.
While 2018 global multidimensional poverty statistics shows Vietnam's remarkable progress at the national average level, its disaggregated data reveals substantial disparities at subnational levels and among population groups. Multidimensional poverty incidence is 2.1% in urban area whereas it is 6.45% in rural area. The highest multidimensional poverty rate is in Northern Uplands and Mekong River Delta (9.6%) followed by the Central Highlands (9.4%).
National multidimensional poverty data shows very large disparities among population groups. Multidimensional poverty incidence among Kinh majority was only 6.4% in 2016, compared to 76.2% among H'Mong ethnic minority; 37.5% - Dzao; and 24% - Khmer.
Vietnam also ranks 7th out of 181 countries in terms of forest coverage, its ranks are among the lowest in carbon dioxide emissions (80 out of 189 countries) and in the Red List Index (165th out of 189 countries). These are areas for priority action, Wiesen concluded.