Vietnam has gone through a period of rapid socio-economic development over the last three decades which has transformed the country from one of the poorest in the world, with a per capita income around USD 100, to lower middle income status with a GDP per capita of USD 2,019 by the end of 2015. The number of people living in extreme poverty has decreased from over 50% in the early 1990s to 3% today. Vietnam was also one of the star performers in progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. At the same time, the country is one of the largest overseas development aid (ODA) recipients in the world, receiving support from more than 50 bilateral and multilateral donors. From 1993 to 2014, total ODA committed to Vietnam amounted to USD 90 billion. Although substantial development challenges remain, Vietnam’s achievements are remarkable. Is Vietnam’s rapid development a success story of development cooperation or rather the result of domestic reforms which are mainly unrelated to ODA?
Jörn Dosch is a professor of International Politics and Development Cooperation at the University of Rostock, Germany. His previous positions include Professor of International Relations and Head of the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Monash University (Malaysia Campus) and Head of the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Leeds. His research focuses on Southeast Asian politics and international relations as well as Europe-Asia relations. Prof. Dosch also regularly works as a consultant for the European Union’s development programme with Asia and has evaluated several donor-funded projects in support of ASEAN. His recent publications include "Die ASEAN Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft (The ASEAN Economic Community), Nomos 2016.