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Vietnam, UK Enhance Cooperation in Digital Economy, Transformation

Image credit: VNA

The Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications (MIC) and the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport signed a letter of intent on cooperation in the digital economy and digital transformation on 1 November.

According to a press release, the two officials shared strategic orientations, national programmes, and projects on the development of the digital economy and digital society of each country, as well as initiatives and policies in support of digital economic development. They also exchanged opinions on possibilities to expand cooperation and strengthen coordination between management agencies on the digital transformation, digital economy, digital business connection, and discussed measures to jointly develop and organise the implementation of initiatives within the framework of the UK-ASEAN Digital Innovation Partnership and the Asia-Pacific Digital Trade Network.

The UK representative introduced a plan to implement initiatives to expand cooperation in digital economic development with Asia-Pacific and ASEAN, through the UK-ASEAN Digital Innovation Partnership, and a programme to support ASEAN in carrying out digital trade platforms, and standards and architectural frameworks for smart building.

On the same day, the MIC Minister held a working session with representatives from the trade association tech UK and the UK-ASEAN Business Council, during which he affirmed cooperation between the two countries’ digital enterprises holds much potential and needs to be expanded. From 2022, the MIC will consider implementing Vietnam-UK digital forums, investment promotion programmes, seminars so that businesses can find partners, expand the market, and cooperate on projects on digital economy and digital transformation.

Digital technology could potentially bring over US$74 billion to Vietnam by 2030, with the most beneficial sectors including manufacturing, agriculture and food, and education training. As OpenGov Asia had reported, Vietnam has many opportunities to benefit from the digital economy. Accordingly, the young, educated, and tech-savvy population accounts for 70% of its citizens under 35 years old. The literacy rate in the 15-35 age group is over 98%, higher than the average global rate of 91%. About 70% of the population uses smartphones. The country also has the second-fastest-growing Internet economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. The government has collaborated with private players to organise online training and capacity-building programmes in technology, e-commerce applications, and digital transformation for domestic businesses. Officials have claimed that the government plans to build and implement more programmes to support innovation in local enterprises.

Vietnam has been witnessing rapid growth in information communication technology development. It aims to be among the top 50 countries in the ICT Development Index as early as 2025, and its digital economy is hoped to account for one-third of the country’s GDP by the end of the decade, instead of only 5%. For Vietnam, COVID-19 was a significant driving factor for digital transformation. Since the pandemic hit, the country has witnessed a great change in the application of new digitisation tools in both the private and public sectors. It is estimated that in June 2021, about two-thirds of private enterprises in Vietnam had access to technologies related to the digital economy.

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