Statement at the Conclusion of the IMF-Vietnam Conference on “Post-Crisis Growth and Poverty Reduction in Developing Asia”

Press Release No. 10/102
March 22, 2010

At a conference held in Hanoi today, organized by the State Bank of Vietnam and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), senior government officials, business people, academics, representatives of NGOs, and members of the media, discussed growth and poverty reduction in developing countries in Asia following the global economic crisis. The participants thanked the State Bank of Vietnam for its excellent organization and warm hospitality.

In opening the conference, State Bank of Vietnam Governor Nguyen Van Giau emphasized that policymakers in developing Asian countries need to focus on ensuring that the conditions are in place for sustainable and equitable growth. To help achieve this, he encouraged greater economic cooperation among countries, and asked for the continued support of development partners.

In his remarks, IMF First Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky said that Asia is leading the way to stronger global growth. He noted, however, that while Asia is one of the most dynamic regions in the world, large income disparities exist, and poverty remains a significant problem. A great challenge is to ensure that all people in Asia benefit from the region’s vibrant economic performance.

IMF Asia and Pacific Department Director Anoop Singh noted that it was very encouraging that the global crisis had not affected developing countries in Asia as severely as countries elsewhere in the world. He attributed this resilience to the policies put in place in the region and the continued robust inflows of remittances and aid.

With the world economy recovering, conference participants thought that developing countries in Asia should now focus on ensuring a sustainable growth path, including by containing inflation, ensuring sound fiscal policies, and strengthening the financial sector.

Longer term, participants stressed the importance of boosting living standards and achieving the transition to middle-income country status. If this goal is to be achieved, public infrastructure—particularly in the areas of energy, transportation, and sanitation—needs to be improved and increased investments made in health, education, and the social safety net. Nurturing private business and attracting foreign direct investment will also be critical.

Conference participants welcomed the engagement between themselves and the IMF. They felt the IMF had played an important role in helping developing countries cope with the crisis, both through its policy advice and lending facilities. They looked forward to the July 2010 Asia-wide conference being organized by the Government of Korea and the IMF, seeing this as a further opportunity to discuss important policy issues in Asia.

The conference was compliant with the Green House Gas Protocol developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, with carbon offsets being purchased to reduce the emissions footprint of the conference.

The program of this conference and some of the speeches and presentations are available at: http://www.imf.org/external/np/seminars/eng/2010/lic/index.htm.



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