Vietnam Military, Economy and Transportation

Vietnam Military


Economy overview: Vietnam is a poor, densely populated country that has had to rebuild from the devastation caused by the war and the loss of financial support from the former Soviet bloc, as well as the rigidity of a centrally planned economy. Significant progress was made between 1986 and 1996, with growth averaging 9% per year between 1993 and 1997. The Asian financial crisis of 1997 exacerbated the problems existing in the Vietnamese economy, but instead of stimulating reforms, it strengthened the authorities in the opinion that the transition to a market economy would lead to disasters. GDP growth slowed down from 8.5% in 1997 to 6% in 1998 and 5% in 1999. Moderate growth remained at 5.5%, the same level should be in 2001. These figures mask the significant difficulties of the economic development. Many industries, including coal, cement, metallurgical and pulp and paper, announced large stocks of finished products and fierce competition from more efficient foreign producers; this problem appears to have become less acute in 2000. Foreign direct investment fell sharply from $8.3 billion in 1996 to about $1.6 billion in 1999. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese government has slowed the pace of structural reforms needed to revive the economy and create more competitive export industries. See to know more about Vietnam in 2004.
GDP: at purchasing power parity – $154.4 billion (2000 est.).
Real GDP growth rate: 5.5% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: at purchasing power parity – $1,950 (2000 est.).
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 25%; industry: 35%; services: 40% (1999 est.).
Proportion of population below the poverty line: 37% (1998 est.).
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: per 10% of the poorest families: 3.5%; by the top 10% of families: 29% (1993).
Inflation rate at consumer prices: -0.6% (2000 est.).
Labor force: 38.2 million people (1998 est.).
Employment structure: agriculture 67%, industry and services 33% (1997 est.).
Unemployment rate: 25% (1995 est.).
Budget: revenues: $5.3 billion; expenditures: $5.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.8 billion (1999 est.).
Spheres of economy: food industry, production of clothes and footwear, mechanical engineering, mining, production of cement, fertilizers, production of glass, tires, oil, coal, steel, paper production.
Growth in industrial production: 10.7% (2000 est.).
Electricity generation: 22.985 billion kWh (1999)
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 47.71%; hydropower: 52.29%; nuclear fuel: 0%; other: 0% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 21.376 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity export: 0 kWh (1999).
Electricity import: 0 kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: paddy rice, corn, potatoes, rubber, soybeans, coffee, tea, bananas; poultry, pigs; fish.
Exports: $14.3 billion (free on board, 2000 est.)
Exports: crude oil, seafood, rice, coffee, rubber, tea, clothing, shoes.
Export partners: China, Japan, Germany, Australia, USA, France, Singapore, UK, Taiwan.
Imports: $15.2 billion (free on board, 2000 est.)
Import articles: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizers, steel products, raw cotton, grain, cement, motorcycles.
Import partners: Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, France, USA, Sweden.
External debt: $13.2 billion (2000) Economic aid recipient: $2.1 billion in loans and subsidies from foreign donors pledged in 2000.
Economic aid donor:
Currency: Dong.
Currency code: VND.
Exchange rate: VND/USD – 14,530 (January 2001), 14,020 (January 2000), 13,900 (December 1998), 11,100 (December 1996), 11,193 (1995 average), 11,000 (October 1994) ).
Fiscal year: calendar year.


Telecommunications Telephone lines: 2.6 million (2000).
Mobile cellular telephones: 730 155 (2000).
Telephone system: Viet Nam is making significant efforts to modernize and expand the telecommunications system, but its state of the art is still far from that of other countries in the region; domestic: fiber optic and microwave radio relay networks are stretched from Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City to all provinces; since 1991, the number of telephone lines in use has increased significantly, and the number of mobile phones is growing rapidly; international: satellite ground stations – 2 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region).
Broadcast stations: AM – 65, FM -7, shortwave -29 (1999).
Radio receivers: 8.2 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: at least 7 (and 13 repeaters) (1998).
Televisions: 3.57 million (1997)
Internet country code: vn
Internet service providers: 5 (2000).
Number of users: 121,000 (2000).


Transport Railways: total: 2,652 km; with standard gauge: 166 km (1.435 m gauge); narrow gauge: 2,249 km (1,000 m gauge); dual gauge: 237 km (gauge – no data) (three rails) (1998).
Roads: total: 93,300 km; coated: 23,418 km; unpaved: 69,882 km (1996 est.)
Waterways: 17,702 km; more than 5,149 km navigable at any time of the year for vessels with a draft of up to 1.8 m.
Pipelines: for petroleum products – 150 km.
Ports and harbors: Da Nang, Cam Ranh, Qui Nhon, Nha Trang, Hai Phong, Hong Gay, Ho Chi Minh.
Merchant navy: total: 143 vessels (displacement of 1,000 tons or more) with a total displacement of 705,388 gross register tons / 1,071,902 long tons of gross tonnage; different types of ships: bulk carriers – 8, cargo ships – 108, chemical tankers – 1, combined bulk carriers – 1, container ships – 2, liquefied gas tankers – 2, oil tankers – 18, refrigerated ships – 3 (2000 est..).
Airports: 34 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 17; over 3,047 m: 8; from 2438 to 3047 m:3; from 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4; less than 914 m: 2 (2009 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 17; over 3,047 m: 1; from 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1; from 914 to 1523 m:7; less than 914 m: 8 (2000 est.).

Armed Forces

Branches of the armed forces: People’s Army of Vietnam (includes ground forces, Navy, Air Force), Coast Guard.
Enlistment age: 17 years old.
Total Military Manpower: Male 15 to 49: 21,704,588 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: men aged 15 to 49: 13,673,438 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year: men: 961,124 (2001 est.).
Military spending in dollar terms: $650 million (1998)
Military spending as part of GDP: 2.5% (1998).

International Issues

International problems International disputes: the maritime border with Cambodia is not defined; Vietnam takes part in a multilateral dispute over the Sprat-li Islands with China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan (possibly also participation in the Brunei dispute); dispute over the maritime boundary in the Gulf of Tonkin with China; Paracel Islands occupied by China but disputed by Vietnam and Taiwan; there are disputed sections of the border with Cambodia; a land border agreement with China was signed in December 1999, but its details have not been made public.
Illicit drugs: small production of opium poppy, grown in 1999 on 2,100 ha (potential production – 11 tons of opium); probably there is a small transit of heroin from South-East Asia to the USA and Europe; there is a problem of opium, heroin and methamphetamine addiction.

Vietnam Military