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Robert Timmer
By Robert Timmer
5 years ago | comments

PD Network and Mastermind Vietnam Mission, part 2

Latest news | Passion for results PD Network and Mastermind Vietnam Mission, part 2

After the first days visiting the project and the medical education center of MCNV we flew and drove onwards to Hanoi.

Hanoi is a vibrant city with more than 6,5 million people with most of the inhabitants driving around on scooters and moped's. It is an amazing display of structured and unstructured traffic at the same time. The life of the people living in Hanoi center, where we were staying, mostly plays about on the streets of Hanoi. From eating, shopping, worshipping and of course a little bit of showing of old and young meet on the streets. Life in Hanoi starts Around 5 o'clock in the morning when people set up shop to sell flowers, vegetables and fruit. By the time most tourist wake up the little provisional flower and fruit shops are already gone and replaced by Pho (say as Feu) restaurants where you can see the Vietnamese enjoy there favorite dish. Pho consists of broth, noodles, fresh herbs and chilis and a choice of chicken or pork meat.

Hanoi seems to me as an economic thriving city with clean streets and a lot of small businesses combined with big office buildings (mostly state owned or government buildings), lakes and constant reminders of the long history of Hanoi. Hanoi is definitely a vibrant city with many different sides.

Vietnamese 1st micro pension seminar

The center of Hanoi is also the place where the 1st Micro pension seminar of Vietnam is taking place. For the kick off PD network (Caroline van Dullemen and myself) and the Dhan Foundation from India (MP Vasimalai and S. Balasubramanian) where present to share our knowledge and aid the development of micro pensions in Vietnam. Besides the sharing of knowledge we joined in the discussion what still has to be developed in Vietnam so that micro pensions can be developed as a product. The seminar was organized by INFI and TEA and besides micro pension government regulated interest percentage for MFI's was on the agenda.

The impression of the morning of the seminar was a story of two sides. The seminar in interest in micro pensions was large and there are more than 60 participants, which came to Hanoi with under a weeks notice this was a fine crowd. There are a lot of questions about micro pension as a product but especially in the discussion part, there where some interesting things said:

  • Demand for pensions; there is definitely a demand for micro pension products in Vietnam. The MFI's presents at the seminar are very willing to sell a product if it is available and legislation is there.
  •  Foreign aid, the MFI's foresee a need for pension products but tell us that they lack the knowledge to develop such a product.
  • Legislation, at this moment the legislation about pension products is unclear. There is legislation for insurance products but the MFI's find these to strict to work with.

What needed to be there first, the chicken or the egg

While the discussion goes on and there are still no products or initiatives, which are running a pilot or making up demand of their customers. In the meanwhile, clients are being thought how to get credit but still have limited possibilities or culture to save money let alone for old age.

There is a state pension for the really poor but the monthly benefits with an insufficient payment to live of. Being poor in Vietnam still means that you will have to work till a very old age and/or rely on your children to take care of you and/or financially support you.

The Vietnamese people are rapidly ageing and becoming ever older. Although there are still specific groups, for instance elderly in remote areas and the born disabled, which need foreign aid. Vietnam is a vastly growing economy, which should be able to challenge some European countries. Still needed in my opinion is foreign knowledge of financial systems (tax, regular and micro finance), which can be a valuable resource to bring the Vietnamese finance system in to adulthood.

Becoming self-supporting

It is all about the clients and trust gained must be protected. This is what I like to add to the discussion for micro pensions in Vietnam.

To me a micro financial system is ideally a ‘Circular’ micro financial system where long and short term savings provide for long and short-term credit of the society.

  • The cumulated savings should be invested in social beneficiary goals (infrastructure, health, education, innovations, sustainable growth etc.) so that the clients of the system ‘feel’ the benefits of the investments made with their savings.
  • The financial system must be transparent, accessible for all people in the society and must be a trustworthy partner for your financial life needs.

By sharing our knowledge we can aid the further development towards becoming a self-supportive micro financial system and in return we can find a good business partner for the future.

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Robert Timmer

Robert Timmer

Business Consultant

Want to know more? Get in touch with Robert Timmer:

  • Email robert.timmer [at] mastermind [dot] eu
  • Phone +31 (0)6 4554 8651

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