Vietnam’s Infrastructure: Improving Slowly But Surely
Due to years of civil war Vietnam’s infrastructure is weak, but the country is making conscious efforts to modernize. Most of the national infrastructure is a remnant of infrastructure laid during the French colonial rule.
Communications infrastructure is poor, but improving. There are now two national telecommunication satellites in orbit and submarine cable systems have been laid. Cell use is on the rise and fixed lines are on the decline.
Transportation in Vietnam
Vietnam’s railway system was inherited from the French colonial period. The system suffered greatly during the wars and was subsequently repaired, but is still generally outdated and in poor condition. In 2009 Japan agreed to lend technology and training so Vietnam could build a high-speed railway. This system is expected to be laid from 2015 to 2020.
Likewise, the road system is in poor condition throughout most of the country. While most roads are paved, the majority need renovation. Some notable improvements have been made, though, including to Highway No. 1 between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, a highway from Hanoi to the international airport, and a couple other highways leading from Hanoi to other nearby cities. These roads are being continually improved and are in considerably better condition than other roadways in the country.
The majority of long-distance inter-country transportation for the public is currently provided by private bus companies. While car ownership is on the rise, locals with private transport more commonly use scooters, bikes, or motorcycles than cars. Traffic and congestion is a growing problem in the country as more people purchase cars, especially in cities and suburbs. Governments will have to work hard to cope with the growing demand. There is a serious problem with traffic safety in Vietnam, too, with over 30 people killed in car accidents per day.
A coastal country with extensive river systems, the maritime infrastructure is well-developed. The navigable waterways of the interior of the country carry ferries, barges, and water taxis.
Vietnam has 21 airports and 3 major international airports. Two additional international airports are currently under construction and are scheduled to open by 2020.
Vietnam is working hard to improve itself and is being recognized for it. In 2008 PricewaterhouseCoopers claimed that by 2025 Vietnam could be the world’s fastest growing emerging-market economy. In 2012 HSBC forecast Vietnam’s GDP to exceed those of Norway, Singapore, and Portugal by 2050.