Vietnam should use megatrends to sustain development

By Staff reporter   July 10, 2018 | 12:15 am PT
Whether or not Vietnam misses or embraces major megatrends can decide its ability to achieve sustainable development, says WB official.

During his speech at the National Conference on Sustainable Development last week, Country Director of the World Bank (WB) Ousmane Dione invited 600 delegates to participate in an on-the-spot online vote on three options: completely ignoring, passively observing or joining and taking advantage of the megatrends.

National Conference on Sustainable Development was held on July 5, 2018

The National Conference on Sustainable Development was held in Hanoi on July 5, 2018.

The result was shown as the speech ended. Over 50 percent of the delegates chose to join and utilize opportunities created by four current megatrends.

Dione identified the four major trends exerting direct influence on sustainable development in Vietnam: shifting trade patterns, knowledge economy, climate change, and aging population.

These trends bring both risks and opportunities, so it is important to figure out how to utilize them to create advantages for Vietnam, he said.

For instance, facing shifting trade patterns and competitors like Myanmar or Cambodia, Vietnam will no longer have the upper hand in attracting low-skilled jobs. However, this can be taken as an opportunity for Vietnam to exploit new forms of trade like shopping or entertainment services.

While an aging population will decrease the nation’s workforce, Vietnam can expand the elderly care industry, as is currently happening in developed Asia, Europe, and the U.S.

Dione emphasized that Vietnam's sustainable development and competitiveness depend on forging a resilient economy against shifting megatrends, as well as the development and deployment of various types of capital.

Institutional capital is a component that creates favorable conditions for the growth of the private sector. Human capital is the sum of a population’s health, skills, knowledge and experience. Physical capital is the backbone of an economy, including roads, bridges, ports, factories, irrigation systems and urban land. Natural capital includes agricultural land, forests and terrestrial protected areas, energy and minerals.

The four types of capital must be developed and utilized fully, equitably, and effectively and it should be ensured that everyone has access to them, he said.

Conference participants discussed key sustainable development issues including the green economy, renewable economy, shared economy and rapid sustainable development in Vietnam.

They also discussed ways for Vietnam to push ahead with determination and take strategic steps towards further integration.

UNICEF representatives at the conference said equal development among various population segments was as a matter deserving more government attention.

There are many vulnerable groups in Vietnam, requiring supporting programs so that "no one is left behind," they said.

Speaking about innovation to improve productivity, several speakers said that alongside creativity, there was a need for capital to fund startups with new and practical ideas.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc emphasized that education was the key for people, especially the younger generation, to access knowledge and create opportunities for the future.

The government is committed to ensure learning opportunities for everyone, leaving no one behind, he said.

In his closing remarks, the PM said: "The Government will continue to improve business and investment environment as well as create learning opportunities for all people so that Vietnam can improve its competitiveness for sustainable development and be ready to adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

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