During her first official visit to Vietnam, Vice President Kamala Harris announced U.S. government funding provided through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help Vietnam continue to fight COVID-19, as well as new initiatives to increase clean energy and natural resource conservation efforts, boost Vietnam’s inclusive business environment, strengthen higher education, and continue improving the lives of people with disabilities. These new efforts are expected to total nearly $100 million in new activities in Vietnam.
COVID-19 and Health Security
- Vaccine donation: Given the Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to serve as an arsenal of vaccines for the world, the Vice President announced the U.S. donation of one million doses of Pfizer vaccine for Vietnam, bringing the total donation to date to six million doses.
- COVID-19 response assistance: Through the American Rescue Plan Act, USAID is continuing to support Vietnam’s COVID-19 response with $4.5 million to help accelerate equitable access to and delivery of safe and effective doses of COVID-19 vaccine, strengthen Vietnam’s health system to respond to COVID-19, and build capacity to detect and monitor COVID-19 and future disease threats. An additional $1 million will support the Vietnam Red Cross for an emergency response program in central Vietnam to reduce the impacts and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in flood-affected communities.
Combating Climate Change
- Leveraging the private sector in climate action: USAID and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to boost Vietnam's competitiveness, expand market opportunities for U.S. companies, and strengthen Vietnam’s environmental policy. The MOU will improve VCCI’s focus on sustainability, green technology, and climate change. USAID plans to support VCCI’s development of a Green Index to help U.S. businesses select provinces that are investing in green operations.
- Expanding clean energy and electric vehicles: The U.S. government announced the Vietnam Low Emission Energy Program II (V-LEEP II), a five-year, up to $36 million USAID project which aims to accelerate Vietnam’s transition to a clean, secure, and market-driven energy system. The project will work to improve government energy planning, increase competition to encourage U.S. private sector involvement in energy service provision, and increase renewable and zero emissions energy systems. The project will help Vietnam scale up adoption of electric motorbikes and implement the Direct Power Purchase Agreement mechanism to allow businesses to procure electricity directly from private firms producing renewable energy.
- Protecting the Mekong Delta region: Through USAID, the U.S. government launched the Mekong Coastal Habitat Conservation project, a new three-year, up to $2.9 million project with the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This project aims to protect key coastal habitats in the Mekong Delta region to increase the sustainability of fisheries, enhance climate change adaptation and improve biodiversity conservation.
Development Assistance and Market Access
- Promoting women and ethnic-minority owned enterprises: The U.S. government announced the Improving Private Sector Competitiveness project, an up to $36 million USAID flagship effort to grow women and ethnic minority-owned businesses and promote job-growth in rural areas through the adoption of new U.S. technology.
- Support for Vietnam’s transition to a digital economy: The U.S. government announced the Workforce for an Innovation and Startup Ecosystem, a USAID project providing up to $2 million to support Vietnam’s effort to transition from an economy dominated by labor intensive, low-skilled industry to a workforce better equipped to participate in the global digital economy. Building Vietnam’s digital skills will increase opportunities for trade between the United States and Vietnam and will promote U.S. technologies.
Support for Higher Education
- Partnering on education reform: USAID announced the Partnership for Higher Education Reform, a five-year project providing up to $14.2 million to strengthen teaching, research, innovation, and governance within the three largest national universities in Vietnam. With U.S. university and private sector partners, the project will support inclusive economic opportunities for nearly 150,000 Vietnamese students in support of a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam as a vital U.S. partner.
Addressing Legacy of War Issues
- Support for persons with disabilities: The U.S. government, through USAID, announced two new awards to local Vietnamese organizations to support persons with disabilities, with a total budget of up to $4 million. The two projects, Hold My Hand II and Raising Voices, Creating Opportunities II, will support persons with disabilities by improving their quality of life and promoting their social inclusion. As one of our oldest war legacy initiatives, disability programming first began under Senator Leahy’s War Victims Fund and has long served as a core element of strengthening bilateral cooperation.