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.

At the time of this project, DANIDA had three sector programs in Vietnam, including water (WSPS), fisheries (FSPS) and agriculture (ASPS). These three sectors had a cross-cutting sub-component of microcredit. The approach chosen for establishing credit lines within the different sector programs is apparently quite different. Due to the differences in the three sectors in providing credit, the supervision and working mechanisms were not consistent and unclear.

This research project had two objectives. Firstly, it surveyed the private consulting companies in Hanoi and identified their capacities to deliver specialized services for the Danish Embassy and Danish projects. This was due to little comprehensive information having been available about the consulting companies currently operating in Hanoi and their capacity to provide different consulting services. During 2005, the Royal Danish Embassy in Hanoi commissioned Mekong Economics Ltd. to survey the leading private consulting companies in Hanoi to identify their capacities for providing specialized services for Danish projects in Vietnam. Secondly, to estimate appropriate rates for Vietnamese consultants in Hanoi working for foreign donors and to develop a framework that can be used to estimate consultant wages into the future for both donors and the Government of Vietnam.

Since April 1998, SC/US had been executing a microfinance program with its implementing partner, the Women’s Union (WU), in the Nong Cong District of Thanh Hoa Province. At the end of October 2003, the program counted 4,012 active clients in 11 communes, with US$151,536 in outstanding loans. Ninety-nine percent of the active clients were women. After five years of operation, SC/US decided to conduct a comprehensive program evaluation and impact assessment to determine whether the program achieved its goals and objectives, and whether the program had its desired socio-economic impact on the targeted beneficiaries and their community.

The project required consultants to: provide a brief history of civil service salary reform in Vietnam since 1990; describe contemporary developments in civil service salary reform; explore competing explanations for the content and direction of contemporary salary reform initiatives; and identify political and other constraints to the implementation of the proposed reforms, and thence to offer some diagnosis of the nature of the problems facing reform and the likelihood of their resolution.