Imprint of Vietnam's socio-economic development in past five years

The Vietnamese economy achieved important strides in the 2016-2020 period and is one of the 16 most successful emerging economies in the world.

Vietnam ranked 4th in ASEAN in terms of GDP in 2020. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Vietnam's economy has exceeded US$1,000 billion in terms of its purchasing power parity.

Overcoming difficulties and challenges, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, socio-economic development in the 2016-2020 period achieved important and quite comprehensive achievements across most areas, creating many outstanding imprints.

The following are some outstanding socio-economic achievements over the past five years.

GDP growth rate

Vietnam's economy progressed rapidly in the last term, achieving the highest GDP growth rate in the region and the world. The Economist in August 2020 ranked Vietnam in the group of 16 most successful emerging economies in the world. This is also one of the remarkable successes of macroeconomic management in the past term.

Average GDP growth in the 2016-2019 period (the first four years of the 5-year plan) reached 6.8%, much higher than the average rate of the five years in the 2011-2015 period (5.91%).

In 2020, Vietnam's GDP growth only expanded 2.91% due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Vietnam was still one of the few countries with positive growth and in fact had highest GDP growth in the world.

In the whole 2016-2020 period, Vietnam’s average GDP growth was 6%, not reaching the set target of 7%, but it was also higher than the average in the previous period.

Economic experts say that through the COVID-19 crisis, the Vietnamese economy showed more resilience than in previous periods (for example, the 2008-2011 period).

GDP per capita

Vietnam's GDP per capita is currently US$2,750 (at current constant prices). According to the General Statistics Office, GDP will continue to expand, it was estimated at US$268.4 billion in 2020, an increase of 1.4 times as compared to 2015. GDP per capita in 2020 also increased by 1.3 times compared to 2015.

According to the IMF, in terms of purchasing power parity, the size of our economy has reached US$1,050 billion and GDP per capita is over US$10,000. Vietnam has risen to become the fourth largest economy in ASEAN.

Total factor productivity

According to the draft political report scheduled for submission to the 13th National Party Congress, labour productivity in the 2016-2020 period has been considerably improved. By the end of 2020, labour productivity had increased nearly 1.5 times compared to 2015 and the average growth rate in the 2016-2020 period was estimated at 5.8% per year, higher than the 2011-2015 period (4.3%), exceeding the set target of 5%.

The contribution of total factor productivity (TFP) soared by an average of 45.21% in the 2016-2020 period, exceeding the set target of 30-35%. Notably, in the 2016-2019 period, when the country was not affected by COVID-19, the TFP contribution reached nearly 46%, 1.5 times higher than in the previous period.

Proportion of industry and services

The process of industrial restructuring has taken place positively, contributing to reducing the importance of the mining industry and rapidly increasing the proportion of processing and services in line with the goals of sustainable development. Accordingly, industry and services contributed 85% to the economy in 2020, higher than the previous period (82.61%), reaching the target set from the beginning of the term.

Notably, in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the industrial proportion of Vietnam exceeded 86%. The global competitiveness ranking of the industry increased from 58th in 2015 to 42nd in 2019.

A number of large-scale industries with high competitiveness and firm positions in the market have been formed. Several domestic industrial enterprises also now have better competitiveness.

The proportion of processed exports in the total export value of goods increased from 65% in 2016 to 85% in 2020. The proportion of export revenue from the total value of high-tech products rose from 63.9% in 2016 to 77.7% in 2019.

Total social investment

Total investment capital for social development in the 2016-2020 period was estimated at nearly VND9,200 trillion, equivalent to 33.5% of GDP and reaching the 5-year average target (32-34%). The investment structure has changed positively with a decrease in the investment proportion of the State sector in accordance with the orientation of restructuring public investment and reducing State ownership of enterprises, especially sectors where the State does not need to hold a dominant share.

The proportion of investment capital from the non-State economic sector increased rapidly from 38.3% in 2015 to about 45.6% in 2020. In the 2016-2020 period, the total registered FDI capital was estimated at about US$174 billion while disbursement was estimated at about US$92-93 billion. In the 2011-2015 period, total registered FDI capital was about US$100.3 billion and disbursed capital was nearly US$60 billion.


Total import and export turnover increased 1.7 times, from US$327.8 billion in 2015 to US$545 billion in 2020. Although the world economy was heavily affected by the pandemic in 2020, Vietnam’s export performance was still significant, with a trade surplus of US$20 billion.

The export of goods increased from US$162 billion in 2015 to US$282 billion in 2020, an average increase of 10.5% per year in the 2016-2020 period, an important driving force for economic growth.

The balance of imports and exports shifted from deficit to surplus by the end of the 5-year term, creating conditions for the balance of payments to maintain a positive state, contributing to stabilising other macroeconomic indicators.

Budget deficit

State budget deficit in the 2016-2019 period reached 3.5% of GDP, down from the figure during the 2011-2015 period (5.4% of GDP). The State budget deficit was around 4.99% of GDP in 2020.

Since 2017, thanks to the reduction in the State budget deficit and the tightening of loans and government guarantees, public debt has started to decline. By the end of 2019, the estimated public debt ratio was about 55% of GDP, government debt was about 48% of GDP and the country's external debt was about 47.1% of GDP, all within the allowed limits of not more than 65% of GDP, 54% of GDP and 50% of GDP respectively.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public debt rate was expected to increase to about 56.8% of GDP in 2020, but still contributed significantly to stabilising the macroeconomy and improving the national credit rating.

Poverty reduction

The national target programme for sustainable poverty reduction in the 2016-2020 period has been implemented effectively, shifting from a single-dimensional approach to multi-dimensional approach with the focus on the poorest households. The proportion of poor households according to the country's multidimensional poverty standards decreased from 9.88% in 2015 to 3.75% in 2019 and to less than 3% in late 2020.

Thus, the poverty rate in the 2016-2020 period decreased by an average of over 1.4% per year. In addition, essential infrastructure in poor districts, communes, and ethnic minority areas has been improved. People's lives have been constantly improving, helping to create livelihoods and enhance access to basic social services.


The urban system has developed rapidly in quantity and in scale while gradually improving its quality towards synchronism, greenness, environmental friendliness, and adaptation to climate change. The urban system also now accounts for a dominant proportion in total national income, industrial value, export, science and technology development, trade and service.

The speed of urbanisation has increased rapidly and the urbanisation rate has reached its set targets. The urbanisation rate increased from 35.7% in 2015 to about 39.3% in 2020 and is now associated with industrialisation, modernisation and rural development.

Other socio-economic indicators

Trained workers

Agricultural labour

Urban unemployment

Insurance coverage

Beds per 10,000 people

Doctors per 10,000 people

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