The objective of this Agriculture and Rural Development Public Expenditure Review (PER) is to contribute to the preparation of the proposed poverty reduction and rural development operation in the Central Region through consolidating lessons learned from the recent period Public Expenditure Management (PEM), and making recommendations on how selected provinces and central agencies in charge of the implementation or coordination of related programs can effectively and efficiently use available financial resources for achieving the rural development and poverty reduction goals set out in core strategies/development plans for the forthcoming period. The PER is also expected to help address systematic PEM issues in the Agriculture and Rural Development sector by informing boarder institutional and public spending reforms at the national level

Vietnam copes with rapid urbanization, decentralization, high rates of economic growth, and globalization. There was wide agreement that a significant investment gap exists vis-à-vis municipal infrastructure investment. At the time, it was unlikely that the private financial markets in Vietnam were going to become in the near to medium term adequately deep or broad enough to meet Vietnam’s infrastructure financing needs. The absence of an appropriate institutional and legal framework at the provincial level for attracting private capital in infrastructure further compounded the problem. In general, Vietnam had not yet been able to establish appropriate channels for attracting direct and indirect long-term private sector investment into developmental infrastructure.

The WB has focused on expanding access to finance in Vietnam through two inter-related approaches: top-down (macro-level focused on policies and regulations) and bottom-up (micro-level focused on institutions and operations). However, there had been no comprehensive analytical assessment of the microfinance landscape in Vietnam, nor was there a strategy to transform the regulatory framework and all of the institutions involved in the provision of microfinance.

About one third of the Vietnamese population lives below the poverty line, and 85% of the poor live in rural areas. The primary expenditure instrument used by the Government of Vietnam to improve rural incomes has been subsidized irrigation investments. Irrigation accounts for about half of all public expenditures in the agricultural sector, and three-quarters of all capital investments. The primary question posed by this study is: how effective are public irrigation expenditures in increasing rural incomes, particularly for the poor?

The Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes was part of the Second Education Development Project, funded by the World Bank. It followed the first round which was carried out three years previously by an Australian organization. The overall aim of the project was to increase access to and completion of, primary education in the poorest districts of the country.  The Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes measured the extent to which this was achieved. The target population was a nationally representative sample of Grade 5 students in three subjects: Lao Language, World Around Us (Science), and Mathematics.