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Vietnam, Switzerland Cooperate in Science and Technology

At a working session held earlier this week, the Vietnamese Minister of Science and Technology, Huynh Thanh Dat and the Swiss State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, Martina Hirayama, agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in science and technology. The two sides will jointly hold workshops in digital transformation and high-tech applications in healthcare, agriculture and climate change.

The two officials also agreed to promote cooperation between the two nations’ high-tech parks and encourage Swiss companies to invest in Vietnam and establish research and development centres throughout the country. According to a news report, the Vietnamese Minister said that Vietnam considers science and technology as the main driver to help Vietnam realise the goal of becoming a modern industrial country by 2030 and achieve high-income status by 2045.

The partnership comes at a time when Vietnam is restructuring its universities and research institutions, promoting the link between the academic sector and enterprises, encouraging private investment in innovation, and attracting foreign enterprises to transfer technology. Minister Dat stated that Vietnam is willing to be a destination for Switzerland’s science and technology office as part of numerous such offices around the world. The Minister suggested Hirayama support the upgrade of the 2019 letter of intent on innovation, science, and technology between the two countries to a cooperation agreement between the two governments in the field.

Vietnam has been working with several countries to promote and speed up the digitisation of various sectors of the economy. Vietnam has signed 17 free trade agreements with more than 60 economies, including major markets of the US, the European Union, Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea. The country’s digital transformation capacity is evident and international partners have shown support for the process in Vietnam. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh joined a working session with leaders of major Japanese firms in digital transformation. The Minister affirmed that digital transformation has an influence on all countries and people and Vietnam has carried out the work in an inclusive and connected approach while promoting public-private cooperation. He encouraged Japanese firms to join Vietnam’s digital transformation process.

The country boasts strengths in economic development and digital transformation, with a fast-growing and open economy. Vietnam has built a national digital transformation programme until 2025 and with a vision to 2030. The process is expected to contribute 20% to the gross domestic product by 2025 and 30% by 2030. Vietnam will continue to complete digital transformation in accordance with reality and allocate suitable and efficient financial sources to the work. The COVID-19 pandemic sped up digital transformation in the country. The ratio of online public service users doubled to 24% during the pandemic period from that recorded in the past 20 years. Apart from this, some 80% of Vietnamese students are learning online, higher than the average of over 60% unveiled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Vietnam is expected to be the fastest-growing e-commerce market in Southeast Asia by 2026, with e-commerce gross merchandise value (GMV) reaching US$56 billion by 2026, 4.5 times the estimated value of 2021, according to a recent survey. Vietnam is at the forefront of driving change and seizing opportunities to thrive based on digital transformation in a post-pandemic future.

A study surveyed about 16,700 digital consumers and more than 20 C-level employees in six Southeast Asian countries, including 3,579 survey participants from Vietnam. The report described Southeast Asia as a leader of digital transformation in the Asia-Pacific region and Vietnam as one of the best performers. In Vietnam, seven out of ten consumers have digital access, and the country will have 53 million digital consumers by the end of 2021.

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