International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, has committed this year to investing US$ 800 million in Vietnam, more than double the amount in 2010. The Saigon Times Daily spoke with Simon Andrews, IFC Regional Manager for Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, on the company’s investment priorities in Vietnam. Excerpts:
The Saigon Times Daily: What are the investment priorities of IFC in Vietnam?
Simon Andrews: It is really around economic development. Our primary mission is to support the development of the private sector, since this is a sector that creates jobs and opportunities for people. We’re involved in three areas. One is in banking. By developing commercial micro-finance models, and increasing banks’ lending capacity, we help improve the access to finance for individuals and small and mid-sized companies.
The second area is infrastructure, both physical infrastructure and soft infrastructure. Over the next ten years Vietnam probably needs to invest about US$200 billion in building roads, ports, power stations, and water treatment facilities. And about half this amount of money will need to come from the private sector. So Vietnam has to develop new models for financing those kinds of projects. PPP, which is beginning to move, can be a solution. Within the second area is soft infrastructure and we invest in projects that can help improve the quality and access to education, the quality and access to health services.
The third area that we are looking at is developing Vietnam’s entrepreneurs. What we want to do is to help them grow their businesses, help them adopt international standards of governance and risk management and financial management so that they can become market leaders, regional leaders, and become globally competitive as well.