At an official visit in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi this week, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced that Hungary would build a 500-bed oncology hospital in the city of Can Tho at a cost of EUR 60 million as part of a new assistance loan program extended to Vietnam, the third between the two countries, worth EUR 440 million, the largest and most comprehensive agreement to date.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, who traveled to Vietnam with Orbán, announced that Hungary’s import-export bank Eximbank had already signed the financing contract for the hospital on Monday, and 10 other projects had been agreed upon within the framework of the assistance loan: five water management projects, including a water treatment plant, a hydroelectricity plant, and the modernization and construction of city sewer and water systems, and four healthcare projects, including construction of three general hospitals and one maternity and gynecological hospital.
Also involved are construction of a radiation measurement system and the introduction of an electronic personal identification system. Szijjártó said all these projects provide significant market opportunities to Hungarian companies.
Orbán echoed the tenets of his “Eastern Opening” economic strategy, saying that in the coming decades the focus of the global economy will continue to shift from the west to the east, which is something the western world must adjust to. He predicted that in the next 30 years, Vietnam would be one of the world’s most quickly developing countries.
Orbán said Hungary had chosen Vietnam as a regional strategic partner because the two countries have had good diplomatic cooperation for some time, and because some 3,000 Vietnamese citizens have received their education in Hungary. He noted that a “Vietnamese colony” of several thousand honest and hard-working families reside in Hungary.
The decision to build a new, modern hospital in Vietnam led to criticism among the political opposition in Hungary, which argued that such a project ought rather to be undertaken in Hungary where the healthcare system is in crisis.