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Ha Noi's 50-years development

Hanoi opera house

Ha Noi - the capital of Viet Nam has overcome numerous difficulties to obtain great achievements over the past 50 years.

Before 1954, Ha Noi had was colonised city with an economy mainly serving the invading troops and the puppet regime. Traders, vendors and service providers numbered more than 40,000 people or one-tenths of the city's population, while workers involved in industrial production numbered only about 5,000.

Stagnancy in the city's industrial and agricultural production left nearly 80,000 people or one-fifth of the population unemployed and hungry. About 70,000 people in the city were illiterate as a result of an undeveloped education system.

In 1954, Ha Noi began a period of economic restoration with the Military-cum-Administration Committee issued a decision banning the using of Dong Duong (Indochina) currency and Lien bang (Federal) currency, abrogating the tariff policy of the old regime, starting a series of reforms for an independent economy.

The city's production gradually restored and developed. By the end of 1957, it had 10 companies with 55 shops and trade cooperatives, and more than 13,000 handicraft households. The total value of handicraft production and private establishments in Ha Noi represented 25 percent of the northern region's industrial value.

Transport facilities, including railways, were improved. An anti-illiteracy campaign was launched and evening classes opened for workers.

Thanks to land allocation to farmers, newly established production teams and cooperative groups in suburban areas since late 1955, the per-capita average income among Ha Noi's suburban farmers in 1957 was 25 percent higher than the average of northern provinces.

By the end of 1960, Ha Noi embarked on an industrial and commercial transform process. More than 91.4 percent of handicraft workers became members of cooperatives; 95 percent of small trade households were involved in cooperatives; and more than 16,000 vendors were mobilised into a socialist commercial network. In addition, the city developed State-owned industrial production, making it the core for national industrialisation. By the end of 1960, the capital city had 60 State-owned enterprises.

Ha Noi basically eradicated illiteracy and developed a complete educational system.

After fulfilling the first five-year plan, Ha Noi obtained encouraging economic achievements, with industrial and handicraft production value rising 67 percent over 1960, accounting for 30.8 percent of the northern region's total industrial production. The agricultural production in Ha Noi's outlying districts was restructed towards service for an industrial city.

In 1975 when the south was liberated and the country was reunified, Ha Noi was chosen as the capital of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

With the aim of pushing up industrialisation and the production of food and high-quality commodities for local demand and exports, Ha Noi focused much of its investment on the industrial sector.

As a result, the city's industrial production value rose from 1.4 billion VND in 1976 to 1.76 billion VND in 1983, and a number of its products found a foothold in both local and foreign markets, including mechanical engineering products, home and electrical appliances, garments, footwear, rubber, plastics, cigarettes, beer, and construction materials.

Meanwhile, the city's food output spiralled from 115,000 tonnes in 1976 to 386,000 tonnnes in 1982.

Since 1982, the city has pursued a multi-sectoral economy with the State economic sector continuing to play the key role.

During the period, the industrial sector registered annual growth of 18.85 percent. In 2003 alone, the sector posted a growth rate of 22.5 percent, helping increase the industrial proportion in the GDP from 34.8 percent in 1996 to 40.4 percent in 2003.

Key industrial products achieving high growth rates included diesel engines, up 34.2 percent; cars , 33.7 percent; electrical fans, 32.4 percent; TV sets, 19.3 percent; and ceremics, 16.2 percent.

Along with that, the city has undertaken the rearrangement and equitisation of the state-run trade network. It has established major trade centres such as Hang Dao, Hang Ngang, Dong Xuan and Hue streets.

Coupled with fully tapping its potential, Ha Noi has made great efforts in improving its investment environment and accelerating trade promotion activities.

Between 2001 and 2003, the city attracted an additional 157 foreign invested projects totalling 643 million USD.

By the end of 2003, as many as 2,000 municipal businesses had set up trade links with partners from 100 countries and territories, helping the city achieve a 12.2 percent increase in export turnover.

Ha Noi is currently home to nine industrial zones and is embarking on building five other concentrated industrial zones, namely the Sai Dong A, Sai Dong B, the North Thang Long, and the Ha Noi-Dai Tu along with 11 small and medium-sized IZs.

Together with improving and upgrading its transport infrastructure, the city has realised the target of universalising secondary school education, abolishing temporary classrooms at primary schools, and providing all wards and communes with doctors. The city launched many child care and family planning programmes, helping in reducing the birth rate remarkedly. Ha Noi has been acknowledged as having the highest human development index among localities nationwide.

In the 2002-03 period, the city generated 130,000 jobs and reduced urban unemployment to 6.8 percent and poor households to 1.7 percent. Average annual GDP per capital surged from 446 USD in 1990 to 990 USD in 2003.

With these encouraging achievements, Ha Noi was the only city in the Asia-Pacific region honoured with the title "City of Peace" by the UNESCO in 1999.

VNA - (30/08/2004)

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