WEF president praises Vietnam's economic achievements

By Song Thu   September 13, 2018 | 06:37 pm PT
WEF president praises Vietnam's economic achievements
World Economic Forum (WEF) President Borge Brende. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
The president of the World Economic Forum, Borge Brende, has heaped praise on Vietnam for its economic performance.

Speaking at the Vietnam Business Summit (VBS) on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi Thursday, Brende congratulated Vietnam for its rapid growth since 2010, the year the WEF was first held in Vietnam.

He also hailed the country’s many economic reforms in the past few years, particularly the measures to control public debt and ensure the stability of public finance.

"This result is not something [even] a developed country could achieve."

Vietnam's public debt had risen to as much as 64 percent of GDP between 2011 and 2015. But the figure was projected to fall to 60 percent by 2020, from an expected 61.3 percent this year, Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung said Wednesday, citing strong economic growth and debt reform.

Brende noted that the government has taken steps to restructure state-owned enterprises and strengthen governance of weak corporations.

He was particularly impressed that Vietnam's banking system has come up with solutions to reduce bad debts and maintain transparency.

The State Bank of Vietnam on August 28 reported that local banks’ bad debts were 6.6-6.7 percent, down from over 10 percent last year.

The country has also seen impressively rapid and strong growth in trade with Vietnam participating in many major free trade agreements such as the recently signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, he said.

Improvements to the business environment also impressed him: "The Vietnamese government did not sleep on victory or be complacent. Moreover, Vietnam is continuing its reforms to ensure growth in the future.”

Vietnam reached its highest economic growth in 10 years by expanding 6.81 percent in 2017, slightly higher than the target of 6.7 percent set by the National Assembly. Its GDP growth in the first half of 2018 is 7.08 percent.

But Brende pointed out that Vietnam is having difficulty with new innovations like the Internet of Things and cryptocurrency, saying countries that can take advantage of these factors would succeed.

The chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vu Tien Loc, said the establishment of the National Committee on e-Government with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as its chairman is a demonstration of the government's determination to take the lead in the digital economy and create a transparent and efficient administration.

Besides traditional advantages such as favorable geopolitical conditions, cheap labor and a young workforce, Vietnam is also discovering new advantages in the digital economy, he said.

In a recent report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the country is ranked sixth out of 54 economies in total early-stage entrepreneurial activity.

A report by consultant firm AlphaBeta ranked Vietnam second in terms of the tech investment climate in the Asia-Pacific and third in digital talent.

The VBS this year has attracted over 1,200 businesses from around the world.

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