Vietnam Reform and Development Forum opens

Thursday, Sep 19, 2019 17:30

Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung gives a speech at the second Vietnam Reform and Development Forum today in Ha Noi. —

A draft Vietnam Socio-Economic Development Strategy (SEDS) for 2021-30 listed the country’s top objectives as to fully embrace a modern market economy that adheres to global norms and standards, to establish legal frameworks for new business models, the digital economy and protect the environment.

The country is set to make significant investments in the development of technologies in the fields of digitalisation, artificial intelligence, automation, energy and environment among others.

The draft plan was cited by the Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung at the opening of the second Vietnam Reform and Development Forum (VRDF) held today in Ha Noi to discuss the country’s development issues and its strategies for growth in the future.

Since becoming a middle-income country in 2010, Viet Nam has been able to maintain its speed steadily with average GDP growth of 6.2 per cent for the 2011-18 period. By the end of 2018, Viet Nam’s GDP has reached US$250 billion with GDP per capita at US$2,600 or $720 billion and $7,600 respectively in purchasing power parity terms, said the minister.

The country has also become an attractive destination for international companies and investors. Foreign investment in Viet Nam in 2011-18 totalled $200 billion with trade openness, a figure calculated by exports plus imports as per cent of GDP, twice the size of GDP in 2018.

Against the backdrop of a global economy fuelled by technological breakthroughs, the minister said Viet Nam places great importance on streamlining its legal framework and development policies to build an economy that nurtures start-ups, innovation and digitalisation. As a result, the country has moved up to rank 42 of 129 in the Global Innovation Index, leading the lower-middle-income nations and third among ASEAN countries behind Singapore and Malaysia.

In spite of recent gains, Viet Nam faces increasingly complex issues in its socio-economic development efforts. The country’s productivity and products’ competitiveness are low, while its market economy still shows too many shortcomings and limitation.

“Technological advances, the likes we have never seen before, are having a great impact on the economy, on how business is conducted and companies operated. Developing countries, including Viet Nam, must take the initiative to grasp opportunities and overcome challenges or fall behind the curve in the development course,” said the minister.

He said Viet Nam’s economy and policies must continue to change and adapt in order to break through the middle-income trap and achieve sustainable development.

Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Viet Nam said while the country has every potential to sustain its development success, bold reforms are required so that the country will be able to seize future opportunities and manage risks.

Dione discussed critical reforms to address a fundamental weakness of the country’s growth model such as identifying policy options to promote innovation-based growth and taking advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He called for the modernisation of the country’s market institutions and national governance to enable an environment where private sector firms, including domestic ones, can flourish and become the engine of growth.

“A well-designed SEDS is critical for Viet Nam, but successful implementation will probably be more important. For this reason, priorities and actions need not only to be clearly identified but also practical to implement bearing in mind the local context and players,” he said.

VRDF, formerly known as the Vietnam Consultative Group (CG) which served as a platform for discussion between the Government and donors on development policies, has evolved into a forum to discuss the country’s strategy and important development issues.

The first Vietnamese CG meeting was held in Paris in 1993 and since 1999 it has been held in Viet Nam, co-chaired by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the World Bank in Viet Nam. — VNS

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