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Vietnam-Nepal – Exchange on development strategies

Organization(s)

Constituency Assembly, Nepal; Ministry of Finance, Nepal; National Planning Commission, Nepal; Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), Vietnam; Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM), Vietnam; Vietnam Academy of Social Science (VASS), Vietnam; Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tokyo, Nepal, Vietnam

Country (ies)

Nepal and Vietnam

Overview

The primary objective is to provide some thought materials for Nepal's leaders to consider the development strategy for the new federal republic of Nepal through exchange of views and experiences with Vietnamese counterparts.

Background

Nepal as a country emerged two and a half centuries ago with the increasing dominance of the Shah Kingdom of Gorkha, with its intricate social and ethnic make-ups. It was only after the Second World War and the departure of the British Raj from India that the country had been opened up to the international community. It was also just two years ago that it was reborn as a newly-formed republic built on the exit of the Shah Kingdom after many years of civil conflicts.

The newly-established republic has a formidable task of building national unity among diversity that characterizes Nepal. One of the challenges it faces is the imperative of economic development and poverty reduction across many constituent communities of Nepal.

History of economic development in many developing countries in the past half-century tells us that each country has a unique set of geographical, historical as well as political and social backgrounds, and each country must formulate a development strategy to suit it. History also tells us that a strong commitment of the country's leadership is an absolute sine qua non for the successful execution of that strategy.

Officials of the newly-formed republic have recognized the above challenges. Also, they are fully aware that the development strategy should be formulated, discussed, agreed and committed to by themselves and for themselves. In order to achieve this goal, they approached JICA Nepal, expressed their interest in learning experiences (both successes and failures) of policy formulation and implementation in Asian countries. They also expressed their strong interest in exchanging views with their counterparts in Vietnam as they believe "Doi Moi" Policy for the transition of its economy to a market-based one in Vietnam in the late 1980's would be most relevant to the current situation in Nepal.

JICA has been engaging this newly-established republic to support their efforts of state building in various areas. JICA's cooperation has taken the form of a series of seminars in Tokyo and a third-country training in Vietnam.

Implementation

A delegation of Nepal visited Hanoi in August 2009; this visit was arranged as a third-country training by JICA. The delegation consisted of members of Constituency Assembly, and senior officials of Ministry of Finance and senior officials of National Planning Commission.

The delegation had intensive discussions with Vietnamese counterparts (MPI, CIEM, and VASS) in the area of formulating and implementing the development strategy, economic reform (renovation) process and recent economic development / achievement, current challenges (global financial crisis), integration into global economy, promotion of FDI, agricultural development strategy, etc. The agenda and program were initiated, discussed and set by officials of Nepal and MPI through facilitation of JICA including utilization of JICA's video conference.

Outcomes

Nepalese participants have obtained an overview of the history of growth and development and of the relationship between growth and poverty reduction through learning the experiences of Vietnam in growth and development. This is expected to shed light on the commitment on the part of the leadership, the strategy for economic growth, and the conditions, internal and external, that enabled such strategy to succeed.

This third-country training is on-going; the second round of delegation is scheduled to visit Hanoi this coming March. A series of visits is expected to emanate the importance of commitment by leadership through leaders in Nepal.

Aid Effectiveness

As one of most successful developing countries achieving rapid economic growth in Asia Vietnam made a historical decision of taking up the "Doi Moi" Policy for the transition of its economy to a market-based one in the late 1980. This experience would be critical food for thought for the leadership in Nepal to formulate and implement their development strategy.

A visit of Vietnamese counterparts to Nepal is also under consideration; which definitely enhance the scope of mutual learning including the area as to how each country can better achieve ownership, alignment and coordination of aid.

Capacity Development

This support is aiming at the capacity development of the newly-established republic through enhancing the commitment of the part of the leadership in the area of formulating national development strategy.

As Vietnamese counterparts consisted of i) senior officials who is currently engaged in day-to-day policy formulation and implementation or ii) economic advisers who actually played an central role in formulating and implementing "Doi Moi" Policy with a living memory of what was real economic and social condition in Vietnam at that time, how they effectively discussed with and convinced the leaders and how the leaders themselves eventually committed to "Doi Moi" Policy. This kind of exchange of views and in-depth discussions can be effectively and persuasively conducted only through those who are actually involved in these processes.

Face to face discussions among senior officials and members of Constituency Assembly were highly effective for both sides to reconfirm that commitment by the leadership is the basis for nation building.

Duration

1st dialogue programme : 15th Aug to 24th Aug , 2009 2nd dialogue programme ; 28th Feb to 10th Mar, 2010 High-level dialogue programme are under discussion.

Name of Primary Contact Person

Mr. Cao Manh Cuong and Mr. Toru Arai

Title of Primary Contact Person

Deputy Director General, Foreign Economic Relations Dept.Ministry of Planning and Investment and Senior Aid Coordination Advisor, JICA Vietnam, Hanoi

City

Hanoi