(MPI) - In order to overcome problems and difficulties and make full use of the potentials and opportunities, we need to have breakthrough thinking, determination and boldness, dare to think, dare to do; must have thinking ahead, but determined not to follow or go after. Only then will we be able to grasp the opportunities, catching up, and advancing with the development of the world.
This is the content emphasized by the Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dzung in the opening speech of the Annual Forum on Reform and Development (VRDF) with the theme of Vietnam: Actions to restore fast growth towards sustainability and inclusion in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic taking place on September 29th, 2020, in Hanoi.
The Forum was attended by World Bank Country Director in Vietnam Carolyn Turk, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie and Ambassadors and Chief Representatives of international organizations in Vietnam,leaders of ministries, line ministries, localities, international and domestic organizations;and experts.
Minister Nguyen Chi Dzung speaking at the Forum.Photo: MPI
Speaking at the opening of the Forum, Minister Nguyen Chi Dzung said that the third Vietnam Development and Reform Forum took place in a very special context.Firstly, Vietnam is preparing to conduct the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party with strong belief and great hope of the people in a new stage of development, but also sets forth great responsibilities for policy makers.At the Congress, the National Socio-Economic Development Strategy for the period 2021-2030 and the Five-year Socio-Economic Development Direction for the 2021-2025 period will be approved, serving as a guideline for the utmost important development period of the country in the next 5-10 years.This will be a critical period to bring Vietnam from a developing country with the current low middle income to a modern industrial country with high middle income by 2030 and then to become a developed country with high income in 2045. Secondly,the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously and heavily impacted all aspects of the global economic and social life, posing great challenges to Vietnam but it also brings new opportunities for development.
Minister Nguyen Chi Dzung highlighted that, on the eve of the XIII Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the country has made strong and steady development steps, achieving many great and comprehensive outcomes.From an underdeveloped country, heavily affected by war, and a high rate of poverty, Vietnam has risen strongly and firmly and became a middle-income country in 2010. The size of the economy is now 40 times higher than in 1990. Per capita income has increased from about 100 USD before 1990 to nearly 2,800 USD.The quality of life of the people has been significantly improved.
However, these achievements are threatened by the great challenge of the Covid-19.With the rapid spread and unpredictable developments, the pandemic has had a strong impact on the socio-economic development of Vietnam.The Covid-19 has affected all industries, especially services, transportation, tourism, catering, and accommodation. Many businesses were forced to scale down their production or suspend their production. A series of employees have lost jobs, and becoming underemployed. Their income is deeply reduced, making it difficult to ensure social security and stability.
Vietnam has great economic openness and trade exchange, therefore, is suffering great losses from the pandemic.However, under the leadership of the Party and upholding the will and spirit of the nation, the Government and People of Vietnam have joined forces, being creating and endeavored to realize the “dual goal”, both fiercely “fighting against epidemics such as fighting the enemy”, and determined to maintain and restore production, to develop economy, and to ensure people's lives so that "no one will be left behind.”
Minister Nguyen Chi Dzung said that until now, Vietnam has been able to control the Covid-19 and is highly appreciated by the international community with its reasonable, effective, low-cost pandemic fighting model which is supported by the People. Despite being greatly affected by the pandemic, Vietnam's economy remains stable. GDP in the first 6 months of 2020 still reached a positive growth rate, to almost 2%.Trade balance sees a surplus of 11.9 billion USD.After slowing down in the first few months of 2020, FDI inflows into Vietnam have increased sharply in recent months.As of August 20, 2020, the total newly registered, adjusted capital, capital contribution and share purchase by foreign investors gained 19.54 billion USD, equaling 86.3% compared to the same period last year. Capital realization of FDI projects is estimated at 11.35 billion USD, or 94.9% over the same period last year. These are very proud achievements that Vietnam has attained in the context of sharp global economic decline due to Covid-19 shock.In the financial health rankings by The Economist magazine in May 2020, Vietnam ranked 12th out of 66 emerging economies, under the safe group in the context of pandemic.
However, besides proud achievements, it is forecasted that Vietnam will still face significant difficulties and challenges in the coming time.The Covid-19 pandemic is still developing in a very complicated manner, creating great socio-economic and political instability around the world.It is expected that the world economic recovery will be slow, while trade tensions, protectionism, and political upheaval continue to increase and have a direct impact on a highly open economy like Vietnam. In addition, Vietnam is still encountering the internal limitations and weaknesses of a developing economy with low middle income. Its economic growth remains dependent on capital, cheap labour, and the FDI sector.Therefore, in the medium and long term, overcoming the middle income trap, narrowing the development gap with other countries, addressing environmental challenges, and building an independent and autonomous economy are the major development tasks posed for Vietnam.In the short term, the problem is that it is necessary to quickly restore economic growth, ensure social security, and make effective use of development opportunities that have emerged since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.
According to Minister Nguyen Chi Dzung, Vietnam needs to make the most of its advantages and clearly identify existing opportunities in order to cope with the above difficulties and challenges.From the perspective of Vietnam as well as the assessment of international analysts shows, Vietnam is at an important time to transform into rapid and sustainable development.The country's potentials, the new development context, especially the "post-Covid-19" period and the Fourth Industrial Revolution are creating favorable opportunities for economic restructuring, digital transformation, and model change towards rapid, sustainable and inclusive growth.With the participation in many new-generation free trade agreements such as EVFTA and CPTPP, Vietnam has a great opportunity to integrate and further penetrate in the world production network, and select quality FDI projects to have a better position in global value chains (GVCs).Opportunities for economic restructuring and digital transformation are also expanding, especially when Vietnam's non-contact economy and e-commerce have created rapid development steps during the pandemic.The sectors of innovation and creativity also have strong and steady progress.In early September, the World Intellectual Property Organization of the United Nations (WIPO) recorded Vietnam at 42nd out of 131 countries in the Global Innovation Index;1st ranking among 29 countries with the same income level and 3rd in Southeast Asia.
The VRDF 2020 takes place at an important, landmark time, requiring Vietnam to proactively make strategic directions and decisions for the country's future development.In particular, Vietnam needs to have breakthrough thinking, determination and boldness, dare to think, dare to do. Wemust have thinking ahead, but determined not to follow, go after other countries in order to overcome the difficulties and problems and to make fulluse of the potentials and opportunities.Only then will we be able to grasp the opportunities, catching up, and advancing with the development of the world.On the contrary, the risk of lagging behind, the development gap with other countries will be increasingly bigger if we do not take advantage of opportunities and renew our mind quickly.
The most important goal of the Forum this year is to provide inputs to help Vietnam complete the draft national socio-economic development Strategy for the period 2021-2030 and the 5-year socio-economic development orientation for the period 2021-2025.The Forum is also an opportunity for international scholars and experts to exchange and discuss directions and solutions to promote socio-economic development, as well as for Vietnam to share its experience in successes and failures with other countries of the same development level.
Minister Nguyen Chi Dzung emphasized that, at this Forum, Vietnam wished to study and learn lessons from the world, to listen to the profound advice and recommendations from experts, domestic and international scholars for two main focuses, namely: The Covid-19 and Vietnam's action to seize opportunities and enhance its position in the global value chain and Digital Transformation and economic restructuring towards inclusion and sustainability.
He also believed that given the presence of many prestigious domestic and international speakers and scholars, the contributions and opinions exchanged at the Forum would help the Government of Vietnam and the Ministry of Planning and Investment orientate and identify the policies and actions necessary to solve the major problems that businesses and people are concerned about, especially in the context of many new emerging challenges and opportunities.The opinions discussed at the Forum will also contribute directly to the completion of the draft socio-economic development strategy for the period 2021-2030 and the 5-year socio-economic development orientation for the period of 2021- 2025.
Panorama of the Forum.Photo: MPI
VRDF 2020 took place in 2 sessions, in which session 1 was themed "Covid-19 and action of Vietnam to seize opportunities and enhance its position in the global value chain". The delegates would focus on an overview of major trends in global trade and production networks;Restructuring and enhancing position in the global value chain: Opportunities and challenges for Vietnam in the new context;Seizing opportunities from global value chain shifts: Vietnam's actions to embrace inclusive growth, attract quality FDI into Vietnam and develop private sector;Overcoming the challenge: Actions by the businesses to resiliently and sustainably recover - examples of some of Covid-19's most affected sectors (agriculture, tourism, logistics, transportation, and public health).
The topic of session 2 was "Digital transformation and economic restructuring towards inclusion and sustainability", participants would concentrate on discussing issues related to inclusive digital transformation: Opportunities and challenges;Vietnam's action to promote digital transformation as a driving force for inclusive andsustainable development;business sector action: making digitalization available to all;ensuring the coverage of the digital transformation./.