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Minister Jan O’Sullivan begins visit to Vietnam

Irish Aid, Press Releases, Asia and Oceania, 2011

The Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan T.D., today begins a four-day visit to Vietnam to see the impact of Ireland’s development aid programme and discuss possibilities for further trade links between Ireland and Vietnam.

Minister O’Sullivan will visit pre-schools, irrigation schemes and community facilities supported by Ireland which are targeted at poor farmers in the north of the country.  She will also visit sustainable tourism projects supported by Irish Aid.  Speaking ahead of the visit, Minister O’Sullivan said:

Vietnam has made remarkable progress in reducing the number of people living in poverty from almost 60% in the early 1990s to less than 15% today. However, notwithstanding this achievement, some 15 million Vietnamese people continue to live in poverty, particularly those of ethnic minority living in rural areas. Some communities are still suffering from the legacy of war that has scarred the country.”

“The Irish Aid programme in Vietnam is clearly-focused on assisting these vulnerable communities through supporting the provision of schools, irrigation schemes and training for farmers, in addition to community-based tourism projects which protect the fragile environment.”

“A second strand of Ireland’s aid programme in Vietnam is supporting the Government to increase economic growth through programmes to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation in the private sector. We also provide targeted technical assistance which is designed to build expertise in areas such as economic forecasting.”

During the visit, Minister O’Sullivan and the Vietnamese Minister for Planning and Investment will launch Ireland’s programme of development co-operation with Vietnam for the period 2011 to 2015.

Minister O’Sullivan will also focus on developing trade links between Ireland and Vietnam.  She will meet Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Education, Justice, and Planning and Investment.

On Monday she will meet Vietnamese education agents and journalists to brief them on the opportunities for Vietnamese students to study in Ireland.  Every year, some 100,000 Vietnamese students study overseas and the market is growing. Minister O’Sullivan will also attend a lunch hosted by the Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment with Irish businesses working in Vietnam.