Vietnam has pledged to strengthen its economic bonds with member nations of the Francophone community and facilitate links between their businesses and banks.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh made the commitment at a two-day forum
which opened in Ho Chi Minh City on June 25, aiming to step up
cooperation between banks in Francophone states in Africa and the
Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Ninh said the forum’s objective is to further boost two-way trade between Vietnam and African countries as well as the South-South Cooperation between Francophone member countries.
ASEAN, Africa and the Francophone community have made progress in trade and investment ties, notably two-way trade between Vietnam and Africa reaching 4.29 billion USD in 2013, up 22 percent against the previous year.
The Deputy PM added Vietnam always backs economic development within the community as well as economic ties between the community with African partners and ASEAN countries.
With 14 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) to be completed in the 2015-2020 period, Vietnam expects to become a crucial link in the Asia-Pacific economic network as well as contribute greatly to the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.
Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said although trade and investment ties between Vietnam and its African partners have improved continuously, with an annual growth of 30-40 percent in the former’s exports to the continent, the two sides still face many obstacles, especially regarding payments.
To tackle the difficulties, State agencies and trade promotion organisations of both sides have held dialogues with credit institutions and banks on this issue, he said, adding that some connections have been set up but no specific agreement on support for businesses has been reached.
Sylvere Bankimbaga, Deputy Chairman of the Club of Banks and Credit Institutions in Africa, said it is essential to establish a mechanism to facilitate financial flows, thus reducing transaction costs through cutting intermediaries as well as promoting mutual trust.
The two-day forum is expected to address difficulties facing by businesses in Francophone states and open up investment opportunities for them.