Vietnam should take advantage of the next wave of digital technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, internet of things and cloud-based services to become Asia's next high-performing economy and improve the living standards of its residents, experts urged at a meeting on Wednesday (May 22) in Ho Chi Minh City.
Australian Dr Lucy Cameron, lead author of the report “Vietnam’s Future Digital Economy Towards 2030 and 2045”, said the country should carefully navigate a number of risks while undertaking digital transformation.
“Vietnam has been one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and has already become one of the most dynamic countries in East Asia,” she said.
A boom in digital hardware and software exports has occurred, and Vietnam’s young population is rapidly taking up new mobile internet services, the report said.
The government is also implementing Industry 4.0 policies to modernise major existing industries and develop new ones, it added.
Digital transition is expected to add about 1.1 per cent of GDP growth each year for Vietnam by 2045, while Vietnam’s growth is fast and inclusive, which is suitable for digital transformation, according to Cameron.
But to sustain high growth, Vietnam will need to overcome substantial challenges, Cameron said.
The population is ageing, while climate change and rapid development is straining the environment and food production as the country rapidly urbanises.
The workforce needs to learn higher-level skills, especially as jobs are becoming automated in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
Nguyen Van Bình, chairman of the Central Economic Commission, said mastering the digital economy created an opportunity for Vietnam to maintain rapid and sustainable growth through the next phase of development.
“Strong leadership and institutions will be key in Vietnam’s development across all economic sectors, including the private sector,” he said. “Digital transformation resulting from this strong leadership will unblock bottlenecks to promote further economic development.”
Chu Ngọc Anh, minister of Science and Technology, said the report provided a blueprint for the country to plan for the country’s digital future.
“It is a tremendous example of successful collaboration between our national innovation systems,” he said.
Australian Ambassador Craig Chittick said the report was the first major output of the Aus4Innovation partnership between Australia and Vietnam.
“It will guide our work over the next three years as we deepen the collaborative linkages between our two countries and help strengthen the Vietnamese innovation system as it adapts to the challenges and opportunities of the digital economy,” he said.
Australia has worked with Vietnam to identify seven mega-trends affecting its future digital economy.
These include the impact of emerging digital technologies, new export markets, the development of modern digital infrastructure, the push to smart cities, the rise of digital skills and services, and changing consumer behaviour.
Mega-trends informed the report’s development of four potential future scenarios, which provide a blueprint for decision-makers to plan for Vietnam’s future digital economy.
With a young population, high investment and a location in the heart of high-growth Asian economies, Vietnam has a good chance of surging forward with new digital tools, if the transition is managed well.