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Bridging the Digital Divide: Vietnam’s Inclusive Growth

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Ensuring equal access to digital technology and the benefits of the digital economy is a key priority for Vietnam, according to Minister Counsellor Cung Duc Han, Deputy Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN. Speaking at a dialogue on emerging technologies with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk during the 56th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC56), Han highlighted the country’s efforts to bridge the digital divide through its National Digital Transformation Programme.

Image credits: Vietnam Plus

Vietnam’s National Digital Transformation Programme aims to reduce the digital gap by expanding internet access to rural and underdeveloped areas and providing support for vulnerable groups. This initiative is designed to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their geographical or socioeconomic status, can benefit from the advancements in digital technology. By improving internet connectivity and digital literacy, Vietnam is working towards an inclusive digital economy that leaves no one behind.

Han affirmed Vietnam’s commitment to promoting human rights amidst the rapid internet and artificial intelligence (AI) development. He stressed the importance of harnessing these technologies to enhance human rights while also addressing the challenges they present. The proliferation of digital communication channels has brought about issues such as fake news and misinformation, which can undermine public trust and social stability.

To tackle these challenges, Vietnam is calling for enhanced international cooperation. Han stressed the need for countries and regional and international organisations to share experiences and coordinate responses to emerging technological issues. Establishing global standards on sustainable development, particularly in the context of digital transformation, is crucial for ensuring that technological advancements contribute positively to society.

In a dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Han praised global poverty alleviation efforts but warned of risks from conflicts and climate change. He urged the international community to find solutions. Vietnam, recognised for its success in reducing poverty, was noted in the 2023 global Multidimensional Poverty Index for halving multidimensional poverty in 15 years. This highlights the importance of integrating digital technology into poverty reduction strategies for sustainable, inclusive growth.

As OpenGov Asia reported, the country’s e-commerce sector has seen remarkable growth, with retail e-commerce revenue reaching $20.5 billion in 2023. However, it only represents 8% of total retail sales, indicating the need for further development. The country is exploring strategies for sustainable practices, consumer rights protection, and bridging development gaps through discussions on consumer trends, AI applications, and digital tools.

Vietnam is accelerating digital transformation in sectors like finance and banking to meet its targets. The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has launched programmes aligned with the National Digital Transformation Programme, aiming for a digital economy by 2025. Recent advancements include a significant increase in mobile payments and QR code transactions, showcasing progress in modernising digital infrastructure. These efforts reflect Vietnam’s strategy for inclusive growth and competitiveness in the digital age, leveraging technology for a sustainable

Vietnam’s National Data Strategy aims to fully digitalise administrative procedures by 2030, enhancing government efficiency. It plans to interconnect data centres, establish government cloud platforms, and develop “Make in Vietnam” mobile apps for comprehensive data management. Emphasising open data, the strategy supports AI applications and innovation, digitises cultural heritage, improves labour market predictions, and creates jobs for vulnerable groups, positioning Vietnam for administrative reform, economic growth, and societal benefits.

Vietnam’s National Digital Transformation Programme exemplifies the country’s dedication to leveraging digital technology for equitable development. By focusing on expanding internet access, supporting vulnerable groups, and promoting international cooperation, Vietnam is paving the way for a digital economy that benefits all its citizens.


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