Golden opportunity, golden pitfalls


Vietnam has witnessed an unusual rapid rise of the sex ratio at birth over the last few years. Other countries in the region which went through a similar situation had to import brides to satisfy the needs for marriage.

[The Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper interviewed UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam Bruce Campbell on 17 April 2010 about an important population issue, the "demographic bonus".]

Vietnam needs careful mix of socio economic policies to address ‘demographic bonus. 

As a surge in working-age population ushers in a “golden era” for Vietnamese development, education, social security and gender equality are crucial for the development of the country, Bruce Campbell, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Vietnam, told Thanh Nien Weekly in an interview.

Thanh Nien Weekly: Vietnam is going through what analysts call its “demographic bonus” period, in which the number of working-age people nearly doubles that of those who are of dependent age. What are the opportunities it brings for the country?

Bruce Campbell: Usually, this period of demographic bonus happens only once in a nation’s lifetime and in Vietnam, it is happening from now until 2040.
This era is also known as the ‘golden era’ as it presents opportunities for the socioeconomic development of a country. The demographic dividend enables Vietnam to effectively use this abundant and young labor force for the next phase of economic growth, especially from 2011 onwards, when the country will embrace middle-income status.

The abundant labor force and low labor cost used to be considered Vietnam’s competitive advantages. However, manual laborers account for a high percentage of the force, while the country needs skilled workers to serve development.

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