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Desperately seeking model countries: The World Bank in Vietnam

Listed author(s):
  • Jean-Pierre Cling


    (DIAL,IRD, Paris)

  • Mireille Razafindrakoto


    (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • François Roubaud


    (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

(english) Vietnam is a very important country for the World Bank. It is the first recipient of IDA credits. It is also presented by the Bank as a model country for development success, especially in terms of poverty reduction. At the same time, the Bank is very active in Vietnam: it is the first provider of development aid; it is also the leader in economic research. Starting from a detailed diagnosis on the Bank’s activities in Vietnam and on the contents of policies it promotes in this country, this paper analyses the political economy of the relationship between the Bank and the Vietnamese government. Since there is no IMF programme in Vietnam, the Bank is the main government partner among donors. But the Bank’s influence over Vietnam’s development path is limited. The Vietnamese government has always refused to adopt policies imposed by foreign organizations and the Vietnamese institutions are strong enough to be able to form an alter ego for the Bank and to achieve “ownership” of public policies. One could almost say that Vietnam is more important for the Bank than the latter is for Vietnam, especially because the Bank gains a political advantage image-wise from what it can hold up as a success story due to its work. _________________________________ (français) Le Vietnam est un pays très important pour la Banque mondiale du point de vue de ses financements : il est le premier récepteur de crédits distribués par l’AID. Cette importance tient aussi au rôle d’élève modèle en matière de politiques de développement que la Banque fait jouer au Vietnam. Ce pays est notamment mis en avant pour ses succès en matière de réduction de la pauvreté. En sens inverse, la Banque est devenue le premier bailleur de fonds au Vietnam et elle joue également un rôle de leader du point de vue de la recherche économique sur ce pays. Partant d’un diagnostic détaillé concernant les activités de la Banque au Vietnam et le contenu original des politiques promues par cette organisation, ce papier analyse l’économie politique des relations entre la Banque et le gouvernement vietnamien. En l’absence de financement du FMI, la Banque a su s’imposer comme le principal interlocuteur du gouvernement parmi les bailleurs de fonds. Mais son influence sur la trajectoire de développement du Vietnam est modeste. Le gouvernement vietnamien a toujours refusé de se voir imposer des politiques de l’extérieur et les institutions vietnamiennes sont suffisamment fortes pour former un alter ego à la Banque et pour s’approprier les politiques mises en place. A la limite, le Vietnam est presque plus important pour la Banque que l’inverse, notamment en raison des bénéfices que celle-ci en tire du point de vue de son image et de ce qu’elle présente comme une success story de son action.

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Paper provided by DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) in its series Working Papers with number DT/2009/04.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200904
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