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Old July 26th, 2009, 11:16 PM
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Default World Bank looks at ethnic minority poverty

Ethnic minority groups in Viet Nam should be further encouraged to participate in the fight against poverty in order to attain a better outcome, World Bank national director in Viet Nam Victoria Kwakwa said yesterday on the release of a new World Bank report.

The report, entitled Country Social Analysis: Ethnicity and Development in Viet Nam, also said the poverty rate among ethnic minority groups in Viet Nam remained high.

In 1993, 60 per cent of Viet Nam’s population was living in poverty. The figure was reduced to 16 per cent in 2006.

The report concluded that there were six main reasons why poverty levels were higher among ethnic minorities – lower education levels, less mobility, lack of access to fertile land, lack of access to financial services, lower market access and cultural prejudice.

The best way to equalise the disparity between minorities and the rest of the population was to improve education levels, the report suggested. It was also essential to understand cultural differences, strengthen cultural inclusion and ensure the opinions of ethnic minorities were heard, the report said.

Kwakwa praised the work of the Government in supporting ethnic minorities in the country.

However, Kwakwa said the poverty rate among ethnic minorities remained higher than the national average and that the disparity should be addressed.

The chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minorities, Giang Seo Phu, accepted the comments made by the World Bank and affirmed that the Government attached great importance to dealing with poverty among ethnic minorities.

He said the Government gave priority to implementing socio-economic development programmes in disadvantaged, remote and mountainous areas and that it had invested trillions of dong on poverty reduction.

However, Phu admitted that there was a disparity in wealth between ethnic minorities and the rest of the population and between urban and rural areas.

Viet Nam has 53 ethnic minority groups, accounting for about 12.6 per cent of the total population. — VNA/VNS
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