For nine days in mid-January 2011, Vietnam’s 11th Congress will decide how to steer the economy of a country at a crossroads. Some observers think the country needs a jolt similar to the reforms of a quarter-century ago that ultimately led Vietnam onto the global economic stage. But the emerging country faces considerable skepticism that questions whether the ruling Communist Party is capable of the needed reforms.
Overall, the government hopes for a 7-8% annual growth rate and $2,100 per capita income by 2015. Achieving those goals centers around two questions: Who will be the top government and party leaders? Can the government become cleaner and oversee Vietnam’s rapid development in a sustainable way?
The coming event inspires comparisons with other key events in Vietnam’s emergence — such as the doi moi economic revolution of the mid-1980s, and the socio-economic development strategy implemented 10 years ago.
Leading up to the 11th Congress, Vietnam officials are candidly discussing the strengths and shortcomings of the country’s leadership, lessons learned — and are setting targets in regard to human resources, social progress, environmental protection, climate change, and many other issues.
About 1,400 delegates representing 3.6 million Party members will attend, and American businesses and investors operating in or considering entering the Vietnam market need to stay tuned.
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