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.

This study was undertaken as part of the ILO project “Extension of Micro-insurance and Microfinance to Informal sector Women Workers”. This project was part of an inter-regional programme, funded by the French government, whose objective was to develop a variety of innovative mechanisms to expand social protection to excluded groups. The other participating countries were Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. The lessons learnt from these three experiences were intended to contribute to national and international debate on poverty reduction and the extension of social protection.

In 2006, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) of Vietnam requested JBIC to proceed with a new project management unit (PMU) management system to use for Japanese transport sector ODA projects. JBIC decided to review the implementing mechanisms of JBIC transport sector projects, identify issues and problems and examine measures for more effective and efficient implementation of JBIC projects through referencing revised legal documents. The study required the Consultant to review policies and legal documents regarding the implementation and management of JBIC ODA projects in Vietnam and to propose concrete recommendations taking into account lessons learned from the past and current projects implemented and managed by PMUs in various sectors in Vietnam.

The program for access Improvement to Markets in the Eastern Region of East Timor Leste (AIM) directly supported the National Development Plan designed to facilitate the country’s economic and social development through the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the bridge network in potentially rich agricultural districts in the Eastern region, namely Viqueque and Lautern. The project was originally designed for 2.5 years until end of 2006 but was extended to the end of 2008 with an additional USD 700,000 contribution from the Government of Timor Leste.

The consulting services under the TA Loan for the Ho Chi Minh City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay (HCMC – LT – DG) Expressway Preparation Project were divided into the Expressway Design and Procurement component and the Regulatory and Institutional Strengthening for Expressways component. Mekong Economics Ltd. and KRI International were tasked with jointly implementing the Regulatory and Institutional Strengthening for Expressways component with the objective to strengthen the Vietnam Expressway Corporation and to facilitate its change from an SOE to an independent infrastructure provider.

There is currently a global debate with the development community regarding the relative merits of project type assistance vs budget support. As part of a wider study aimed at demonstrating the importance of project type assistance in conducting ODA funded infrastructure development, Mekong Economics Ltd. was responsible for carrying out a survey designed to investigate the effectiveness of JBICs (formally OECF) assistance in the rehabilitation of National Highways 1 and 5. The effectiveness of the two projects was assessed using the five pillars of the Paris Declaration as a framework (Ownership, Alignment, Harmonisation, Managing for Development Results and Mutual Accountability). The study was created by combining the results from government and stakeholder interviews with existing data in order to provide an insight into the effectiveness of carrying out the two projects through project type assistance.

The purpose of the project was to undertake research and analysis and produce two chapters used by ABARE in their project “Minerals Sector Issues Affecting Sustainable Development in the APEC Region”. The research involved undertaking a broad overview of the minerals sector in APEC, drawing out common features of the minerals sectors of different APEC economies, and presenting an overview of the key issues affecting the minerals sector in APEC economies and some key general policy principles to address these issues. This project work built on MKE’s previous work on the minerals sector in the ASEAN region undertaken in partnership with ABARE.

The Project “Improving Business Relations Between Swedish and Vietnamese Companies Through IT Development” was a research project funded by The Swedish Program for Information and Communication Technology in Developing Regions. The scope of Mekong Economics’ contribution to the project included an analysis of Industrial Demands and IT-Infrastructure and the development of a project website.

The World Bank and DFID have been involved in the provision of rural transport in Vietnam through the Rural Transport 2 (RT2) programme. RT2 has provided investment funds and technical assistance to support rural transport infrastructure, policy and private sector development in the MoT and provinces. As part of this work RT2 supported the development of new strategies and policies within the MoT. This study informed this programme and the design of the third rural transport project (RT3).

The Community Based Rural Infrastructure Project’s development objective was “to reduce rural poverty in [up to 600 of] the poorest rural communes in 13 provinces in Central Vietnam by: (1) increasing the capacity of these communes for decentralized and participatory planning and management of development activities; (2) providing essential small-scale, community based infrastructures in these communes; and (3) generating direct income for the poor through providing construction employment.” The objective of this assignment was to provide advisory and implementation support services for the strengthening of the project’s MIS, and ensure that the project develops both progress and completion reporting formats that fully capture the project’s results (outputs and intermediate outcomes) across all three aspects of the project’s development objective.