Switzerland plans to increase its grant budget to CHF 123 million (US$132.8 million) over the next four years to promote further economic development co-operation with Vietnam.
The Swiss Embassy toVietnam made the announcement at a ceremony held in Hanoi today to launch the Development Co-operation Strategy with Vietnam from 2013-2016.
Swiss Development Co-operation in Vietnam began in 1992 and has become the cornerstone of the relations between the two countries, said Swiss Ambassador to Vietnam Andrej Motyl. In line with Vietnam's middle-income status and its objective to become an industrialised country by 2020, Switzerland plans a robust expansion of its economic development co-operation and a gradual decrease in its contributions to poverty reduction, he noted.
A special emphasis will be given to supporting Vietnamese businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises, to produce higher-value products and services, said the ambassador, adding that in the four years to come, Switzerland will gradually phase out its development programme on poverty reduction.
In his speech, Vietnam Vice Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong spoke highly of the valuable support from the Swiss Government to Vietnam in the past, especially in the areas of poverty reduction, rural development, environmental protection, employment, health and culture.
The Vice Minister applauded Switzerland's decision to increase its development grant budget and to shift the focus towards economic development co-operation, proposing that the two countries continue to foster comprehensive bilateral co-operation in the future.
As of 2012, Switzerland had contributed CHF 340 million (US$360 million) to Vietnam's socio-economic development and reform agenda. Two Swiss Government Agencies, the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC) and the Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs (SECO) have provided complementary technical and financial assistance to Vietnam.
The total amount of Swiss Development Co-operation in Vietnam for the 2013-2016 period is budgeted to rise to CHF 123 million, 50% more than in the previous four-year period. SECO will disburse CHF 100 million of the total, while the SDC will distribute CHF 23 million.
Swiss development Co-operation with Vietnam for the 2013-2016 period will provide support in five main areas, including the sound economic framework conditions for inclusive and sustainable growth, productivity and competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, environmentally friendly policies, local governance and citizen participation and agriculture and food security.
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