VN should be resilient to shifting megatrends: WB

Thursday, Jul 05, 2018 15:37

Ousmane Dione, country director of World Bank in Viet Nam, addresses the conference held on Thursday in Ha Noi. — VNS Photo Linh Anh

Viet Nam’s economy can be re-defined by focusing on the effective exploitation of four megatrends affecting the country’s sustainable and competitive development.

The statement was made by Ousmane Dione, country director of World Bank in Viet Nam, during a conference held on Thursday in Ha Noi, themed ‘Enhancing Competitiveness, Realising Sustainable Development Goals’.

The event was co-organised by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Việt Nam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) and the World Bank.

“Megatrends are regional or global in nature, and they are sustained and transformational forces that can re-define our world by changing the rules of the game,” Dione said.

Four specific megatrends Dione mentioned comprised of shifting trade patterns, rising knowledge economy, climate change, and an aging population.

“Megatrends present risks and opportunities, and the trick is to figure out how to leverage them to work in Viet Nam’s advantage.”

Ousmane Dione also introduced key findings from the World Bank’s report ‘Viet Nam’s future jobs’, which emphasised the effective exploitation of the mentioned megatrends and how these trends would affect Viet Nam’s jobs structure and economic reform process.

“Jobs have been a fundamental part of Viet Nam’s rapid transformation to a modern, globally integrated, middle-income country,” Dione said, adding that Việt Nam’s 50 million jobs, along with its shift towards services and manufacturing have contributed to plunging poverty rates and boosting strong economic growth over the last few decades.

“The world is on the cusp of new opportunities that could further shift Viet Nam’s jobs picture. The rise of the Asian consumer class, especially in China, a shift toward knowledge economies, new trade partners and patterns, automation in the workplace, and aging, all threaten Viet Nam’s current jobs structure, but they also offer opportunities.”

However, Việt Nam’s job structure is not yet conductive to adapting to these megatrends, Dione said.

“The 21st century workers require a more complex set of skills than in the past. This is being driven by automation, where machines are taking over manual and routine jobs, as well as an increase in demand for products and services driven by the expanding consumer class.”

Meanwhile, a critical challenge in Viet Nam is that only 8 per cent of the labour force has a university education, which is insufficient to make the leap into the knowledge economy. Ethnic minorities, older workers, and pockets of youth in Viet Nam are particularly vulnerable, he added.

Most of the country’s jobs are in family farming, household enterprises or low-skilled labour. Few jobs are currently positioned to embrace the megatrends. For example, only 2.1 million jobs are offered by foreign factories that pay above the minimum wage, while registered domestic firms provide no more than six million jobs.

To help Viet Nam’s resilience to megatrends and effective implementation of sustainable development goals as well as improving competitiveness, the four types of capital – institutional, human, physical and natural – must be developed and deployed efficiently, equitably and effectively, he said.

He added that the WB’s report also identified three reform areas that would be essential to capture the job-related opportunities offered by a changing economic and social context. The first is to create more jobs in specific segments of the modern sector, namely via Việt Nam’s SMEs, agro-industry, and value chains. The second is to enhance the quality of jobs in the traditional sectors, which is a significant part of the jobs landscape. The third is to connect qualified workers to the right jobs.

"In the context of Viet Nam's fast-growing economy and the country’s deep international integration process, The Fourth Industrial Revolution requires Viet Nam to improve its labour resource quality, education and training to adapt to new technology and meet job requirements. ABB is proud to be associate with the Government, educational institutions in Việt Nam in this field," said Brian Hull, Country Managing Director of ABB in Viet Nam, an EU-based foreign company that engaged in production of power and distribution transformers.

ABB attaches great importance to promoting education in general and specifically the training of engineers. The company has donated its latest technologies to leading engineering universities such as Ha Noi University of Science and Technology, HCM City University of Technology and Education, Industrial University of HCM City, RMIT and Ton Duc Thang University. This equipment brings practical work processes and experience into the learning environment.

The company is also committed to enabling the integration process and seizing opportunities to help build up a digital future for Vietnamese industries. ABB will accelerate delivery of solutions to support the smart, sustainable development of renewable energy, smart cities, and electric vehicles in the country, Hull said.

“The Energy and Fourth Industrial revolutions are shaping the future of the country’s economy and we have the right technologies in place that have stood the test of time to allow utilities, industries, infrastructure and transport sectors to capitalise on these changes,” Hull said.

Matt Wilson, director of Corporate Affairs of Heineken Viet Nam, which was recognised as the most sustainable company in Việt Nam by VCCI in 2017, said Heineken Viet Nam is committed to building a healthy and safe workplace founded on mutual respect, diversity and the development of people.

“We are dedicated to helping our employees develop to their fullest potential through investments in training and development programmes that help them gain the necessary skills and knowledge to progress in their career path.”

In 2017, Heineken, directly employed approximately 2,800 employees and supported over 156,000 indirect jobs, equivalent to 0.3 per cent of Việt Nam’s total labour force, across its value chain.

At the event, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said sustainable development is an inclusive goal, not simply the task of any single ministry or sector but one that needs uniform awareness and calls on the actions of the whole society.

The Government leader said over the last three decades, Việt Nam’s sustainable development strategy has always been built based on the three pillars of economic sustainability, social sustainability, and environmental sustainability.

He also affirmed the country’s consistent policy of concurrently developing the economy while also protecting the environment and achieving higher standards in sustainable development.

"The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations are a guideline for Việt Nam to carry out its development strategies and reforms," said Phúc.

He stressed the need to reform economic institutions, promote productivity, and create the best possible conditions for all people to bring into play their capabilities to build a prosperous and sustainable society.

“The key point of this task is making efforts to improve the business environment and competitiveness,” he added.

The PM stressed that the Government pledges to effectively protect property rights and perfect the environment for startup to encourage innovative ideas, especially among young people.

Meanwhile, VCCI Chairman and Co-chair of the Viet Nam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), Vu Tien Loc, said that Việt Nam would accelerate the economic reform process and become a high-middle-income country within the next two decades, with impressive achievements in social justice and equality and effective State management.

He emphasised the consensus and concerted efforts of all social classes, the effective support and cooperation of related parties and international organisations.

The conference also focused on issues and solutions to promote public-private partnerships, recommendations from the business community and international organisations to promote the implementation of the Government’s action programmes to improve productivity and competitiveness, towards sustainable development in the digital era.

The event was attended by more than 650 delegates, representing governmental agencies, ministries, localities, research institutions, international organisations and business associations.

Within the framework of the conference, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the VCCI also announced the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G), a new global partnership initiative aiming to facilitate and leverage strategic global public-private partnerships to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Global Sustainable Development Goal through the implementation of Green Growth. — VNS

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