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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        6  May 2011

Vietnam signs infrastructure deal

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On Thursday the Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam, Nguyen Van Giau and the President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Haruhiko Kuroda, signed a US$1.38 billion financial assistance deal set to help increase access to clean water, conserve threatened forests and ease urban gridlock throughout Vietnam.

The total project cost will amount to approximately US$4.5 billion.

"The ADB's assistance will help ensure access to clean water, the development of cities and the preservation of biologically diverse forests for future generations," said ADB President Kuroda. According to the ADB, in many of Viet Nam's largest cities, up to 40 percent of treated water is lost before it reaches the end user. Moreover, four in every 10 families have no connection to a central water supply system at all. The $1 billion financial support mechanism from the ADB will help improve clean water access for 3 million families in Viet Nam's cities, including half a million poor households who will receive their own piped water connection for the first time. The ADB's assistance forms part of a $2.8 billion investment programme

A $30 million loan from the ADB's concessional Asian Development Fund will further enhance cross-border co-operation in protecting a continuous stretch of biologically diverse forest in Viet Nam's central region, which spans the highlands of Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Nam provinces.

A $350 million loan, part of an overall $636 million ADB package will support a $1.6 billion project to construct a modern expressway to the south of congested HCM City. The 57-kilometre expressway between Ben Luc and Long Thanh will reduce traffic congestion in the heart of HCM City by allowing vehicles travelling from east to west to bypass the city centre. When the expressway opens in 2017, it will reduce east-west travel time by 80 percent and cut the number of traffic accidents by 10 percent.

Vietnam's GDP reached $104.6 billion during 2010.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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