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Vietnam Should Aim to Become High-Income Nation by 2045, PM Says

After Vietnam finished 2019 with impressive growth rates, leaders are optimistic that the country is on a stable trajectory to join the ranks of upper-middle-income or even high-income nations within a few decades.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc explained late last year at a meeting with city and provincial leaders that, if economic growth continues at the current pace, the country could soon surpass a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of US$3,995 to be classified as an upper-middle-income country.

Upper-middle-income countries are defined by World Bank as those with a GNI per capita of between US$3,996 and US$12,375. Members include China, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico and Serbia. For high-income countries, that figure is above US$12,375. Phuc said Vietnam should aspire to be a high-income nation by 2045.

However, he also cautioned that, if growth slows, Vietnam will remain in the lower-middle-income country category with a GNI per capita between US$1,026 and US$3,995 several years longer. Other nations with that current distinction include Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines. 

The aspiration comes on the heels of numerous positive economic reports and predictions in recent years. The total economy is roaring ahead with GDP growth topping 7% for 2019. Experts are bullish, expecting average incomes to hit US$10,000 by 2030 and crack into the top 20 of total global economies by 2050.

Amongst the optimism, however, rests some cause for concern. As the total economy grows, the wealth gap is increasing dramatically. Economic development can also carry with it a multitude of environmental effects, including the reduction of air and water quality and loss of natural environments.