Knapen to visit Vietnam

International cooperation minister Ben Knapen will visit Vietnam from 9 to 11 October, to observe how the country is making the transition from development cooperation to relationships of mutual benefit.

The Netherlands strives wherever possible to use its development-related knowledge and experience for the purposes of building economic diplomacy. ‘In Vietnam, we've been working on these lines for quite a while, so I'd like to see with my own eyes how it's going,' said Mr Knapen. 'I also want to find out whether we can learn lessons there that we can apply in Colombia and Ghana, where we're also seeking to use development money to give a last push towards this new type of relationship.’

Vegetable chain
On Tuesday, Mr Knapen will speak about the relationship between the Netherlands and Vietnam. He will then visit a sustainable vegetable chain, set up with expertise from Wageningen University, from the farmer's field to the wholesale depot of Metro Cash & Carry (the Vietnamese equivalent of Makro).

On Wednesday, Mr Knapen will fly to Ho Chi Minh City, where he will take a boat ride with Vietnamese experts and local Dutch business people to see the challenges that face the regularly flooded city. With representatives of Royal HaskoningDHV, Grontmij and other companies, he will discuss how Dutch knowledge and expertise is being used in Vietnam and how it can be used in the future.

Milk production
On Thursday, Mr Knapen will visit a FrieslandCampina operation just outside Ho Chi Minh City. The Dutch dairy company has been active in Vietnam for more than 85 years. With the help of development money and drawing on knowledge gained in Dutch research institutes, it promotes milk production by local farmers.

On Thursday evening, Mr Knapen will fly on to Tokyo for the annual meeting of the World Bank Group.