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Social Investment Landscape


The Vietnamese social economy is in the early stage, driven largely by impact funds and intermediaries


Executive Summary

Vietnam’s transition from a centrally planned to market economy has resulted in phenomenal economic growth in the last 30 years. The country’s GDP growth rate has hovered at around an impressive 6% since the 1990s, second only to China. Its growth trajectory for the next decade is boosted by a young and educated workforce with a median age of 30 years, a growing share of which is trained overseas.

While economic growth has lifted millions of people out of poverty, the country is still grappling with multiple development challenges, especially malnutrition, health care and climate change. The prevalence of stunting among children under 5 years old is 36%, significantly higher than the Southeast Asian average of 26%. HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria remain significant concerns. Vietnam is also one of the countries most at-risk environmentally with high vulnerability to sea level rise and resultant health risks.

The Vietnamese social economy is still in the early stage, driven largely by impact investors and intermediaries. While institutional philanthropy has not permeated the country, Vietnam has become one of the most dynamic impact investing hubs in Southeast Asia with a diverse range of both international and local funds. Meanwhile, multinational and large local corporations lead in strategic corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the government has embarked on mainstreaming green finance.

Vietnam’s Fact File

Vietnam’s 2018 Fact File

95 million


USD 647 billion


World Rank 32


GDP Growth

USD 6,776

Per capita GDP (PPP)

World Rank 130

116 64 in 2016

World Giving Index Rank

17%giving money 14%volunteering time 37%helping a stranger


Number of Millionaires




Global Competitiveness Index

Global Competitiveness Rank (2016-2017) – 60/138


Ease of Doing Business Rank

Ease of Doing Business Rank (2018) – 68/190
Source: ADB, Charities Aid Foundation, Credit Suisse, World Economic Forum, World Bank. Figures are accurate as of March 2019


SDG Dashboard

Vietnam remains far from achieving 14 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 14 (life below water), 15 (life on land) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) are areas that require the most work.
Vietnam’s Socio-Economic Development Strategy 2011-2020 identifies the following key policy priorities: developing industrial and service capabilities, improving health care quality, upgrading human capital and achieving environmental sustainability. The 5-year national plan for the period of 2016-2020 sets the targets below:
  • Poverty reduction of an average 1.5% per annum,
  • 65-70% of the workforce being educated,
  • Urban unemployment rate of below 4%,
  • Over 80% health insurance coverage, and
  • 9-10 doctors and a minimum of 26.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people.

Source: sdgindex.org (2018)

Note: The “traffic light” colour scheme (green,yellow, orange, red) illustrates how far a market is from achieving a particular goal

Government Initiatives

Government Initiatives to Address Development Gaps


SDG Goals


  • 40% of the total labour force is employed in agricultural activities but the sector contributed only 15% of GDP in 2017, indicating low productivity.

Government Initiatives

  • The government’s agricultural restructuring plan for the 2017-2020 period aims to train 22% of agricultural workers and increase labour productivity by 3.5% per annum.
  • The country is shifting to crops that are highly adaptive to climate change and also seeks to foster agricultural research and development.

Climate action

SDG Goals


  • Vietnam ranked 25th in the 2018 World Risk Index, placing it in the very high-risk category. The country is highly prone to rises in sea level and floods have been one of the major causes of economic losses.

Government Initiatives

  • The National Green Growth Strategy 2011-2020 aims to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 1.5-2% by 2030 and increase the share of green technology to 42-45% of GDP by 2020.

Education and employability

SDG Goals


  • Labour productivity was one-fifth that of Malaysia and two-fifths that of Thailand in 2016.
  • Only 24% of the labour force had technical qualifications in 2017.

Government Initiatives

  • The 2016-2020 national plan outlines strategies to increase the percentage of trained labour force to 65-70%.

Energy access

SDG Goals


  • Vietnam has transformed from an energy exporter to an energy importer due to a rapid increase in domestic energy demand.
  • Coal accounts for a growing share of energy supply, undercutting the country’s green growth efforts.

Government Initiatives

  • The Renewable Energy Development Strategy seeks to increase the share of renewable energy (including hydropower, solar and wind power and biomass energy) in total electricity production to 32% in 2030 and 43% in 2050.

Health care

SDG Goals


  • Health care quality in provincial hospitals is significantly lower than in national hospitals, which exacerbates overcrowding in the latter.

Government Initiatives

  • The Ministry of Health’s 5-year plan 2016-2020 focuses on:
    • Achieving universal health coverage,
    • Upgrading health care facilities and promoting transfer of knowledge and technologies,
    • Improving the quality and allocation of human resources at the regional level.

Poverty alleviation

SDG Goals


  • 2 million households remain below the national poverty line and another 1.3 million are vulnerable to falling back into poverty.

Government Initiatives

  • The National Programme on Sustainable Poverty Reduction for 2016-2020 aims to reduce the poverty rate by an average of 1.5% annually and increase per capita income of poor households by 1.5 times.

SME development

SDG Goals


  • SMEs account for 98% of all enterprises and 62% of total employment but only 45% of Vietnam’s GDP.
  • Only about 30% of SMEs have access to bank loans.

Government Initiatives

  • The Ministry of Planning and Investment set up the USD 87 million SME Development Fund in 2016 to provide preferential loans to SMEs. As of 2018, the Fund had disbursed about USD 6 million to 19 enterprises.
  • The 2018 Law on Supporting SMEs outlines a range of support for SMEs including credit guarantees, technical assistance, preferential taxes and reduced land rent.

Water and sanitation

SDG Goals


  • 90% of rural households and 39% of urban households do not have access to piped water and have to carry water home.
  • 23% of the poor and 28% of the ethnic minority population lack access to sanitation facilities.

Government Initiatives

  • The government is implementing various projects to build and improve water and sanitation infrastructure in urban and rural areas in partnership with World Bank, ADB and multiple bilateral development agencies.

Social Economy

The Vietnamese social economy is in the early stage, driven largely by impact funds and intermediaries


Deal Share in Vietnam

Case Studies

Case Studies in Vietnam


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Social Investment Landscape in Asia