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July 5, 2008

US agency to offer bigger assistance to Vietnam
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will "deepen and broaden assistance programs" in Vietnam in such fields as finance, education and healthcare in the coming years, a visiting US official said Friday.

The USAID would provide Vietnam with stronger assistance in various spheres, including having bigger US involvement in overseeing and expanding the local bourse, offering scholarships, combating HIV/AIDS and human trafficking, facilitating legal and governance reform, financially assist people with disability or affected by natural disasters, and dealing with environmental issues, Henrietta Fore, the
agency's Administrator and Director of US Foreign Assistance, said at a press briefing.

USAID-funded programmes in Vietnam were worth $6 million in 2003 and $70 million in 2008. Of the $70 billion, $45 million is for anti-HIV/AIDS activities.

On Friday, Fore discussed with a Vietnamese deputy minister of finance about capital market, and rang the gong to start trading at the Hanoi Securities Trading Center, underscoring USAID's support for Vietnam's economic governance reforms.

USAID, which helped develop Vietnam's stock regulations, is exploring a new framework for mobilizing private capital for infrastructure financing, she said.

After the briefing, she attended a ceremony to dedicate USAID/Vietnam's upgrade in status to a full country mission. During her visit to Hanoi capital and southern Ho Chi Minh City from July 3-5,she is scheduled to meet with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh and Chairman of the Government Office Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

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