The challenges of Vietnam's reconstruction
Publication Date: January 1993
Publisher(s): East-West Center
Series: AsiaPacific issues ; no. 5
In recent years, Vietnam has reappeared in U.S. newspaper headlines. This time the country is cast as a new land of opportunity, one whose vast natural and human resources are certain to make it and all who invest in it rich. Only the U.S. trade embargo seems to stand in the way. But Vietnam's development depends on more than lifting the embargo and increasing international aid and investment. The country faces challenges beyond the issues reported by the news media. Its rapidly growing population must be fed and its current high literacy rates maintained despite a shortage of land and money. Natural resources, though significant, will not bring instant national wealth, and their exploitation is already damaging the environment. Roads, telephones and other means of communication are all inadequate. And national decision-making is centralized in Hanoi, which has shown a tendency to apply development policies uniformly without regard to diversity and to look for "magic bullet" solutions to the country's many complex problems.