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Vietnam: What Will It Take to Become a Modern Industrialized Economy by 2035?
Updated: 3/11/2015 2:33:27 PM GMT + 7
Policymakers agree that major changes are in order if Vietnam is to become an industrialized country by 2035.

Using theVietnam 2035 report as a basis for discussion, the online forum generated over 50 questions and comments on a range of the most relevant challenges Vietnam faces to become an industrialized nation. Vietnam 2035 is a joint research report of the Government of Vietnam and the World Bank Group that is currently under preparation.

Strengthening economic institutions

First and foremost on the country’s agenda is strengthening its economic institutions.

According to Mr. Vinh, Vietnam needs to take decisive reforms to create a modern market economy and to integrate more deeply with the international economy.

"This would help to allocate resources most efficiently according to market signals,”said Mr. Vinh. "The private sector needs to play a more important role in the provision of public services.”

"A more robust private sector will be essential for driving job creation and future growth,” Ms Kwakwa noted. "Improving access to finance, leveling the playing field vis-à-vis the state-owned enterprises and foreign-invested companies, and addressing skills development issues are likely to be important for this. Modernizing the agriculture sector, managing the ongoing process of urbanization, building a strong foundation for higher education and technical training are also priority reform areas.

Building a More Competitive Workforce

Assuring that all children are able to prosper, regardless of their background, was the key message from Ms. Kwakwa in response to a number of questions related to education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

According to Ms. Kwakwa, children must "get a good start early in childhood and come to school ready to learn.” This includes ensuring that nearly all students are able to complete high school, and go on to choose among a variety of high-quality college and university programs.

"An educated population has many advantages, and chief among these are the skills and adaptability it uses in the changing world of work,” she added.

According to Mr. Vinh, the state should play a critical role in supporting young citizens and enterprises to develop their innovative ideas, provide skills training and support business creation. This, he noted, was an important way to drive productivity growth – a key component of the 2035 agenda.

Improving Service Delivery

Responding to concerns about how the government provides basic services, Ms. Kwakwa urged Vietnam to adopt innovative service delivery mechanisms, such as e-governance.

Vietnam needs to go beyond the steps it has already taken and learn from countries that have gone further, such as South Korea.

"Using e-governance platform not only reduces the cost of service delivery but also minimizes the opportunities for abuse of power. At the same time, increasing the voice of citizens in rating the quality of administrative services is also critical,” Said Ms. Kwakwa

Promoting Accountability and the Rule of Law

Private sector led growth must be accompanied by an increase in the rule of law, according to Mr. Vinh. A state that serves the people and is owned by the people, he argued, will help ordinary citizens take part in the policy making process, select the nation’s leaders, and develop the constitution.

Ms. Kwakwa highlighted that accountability and transparency were cornerstones of an effective public sector and keys to long term growth.

This starts, according to Ms. Kwakwa, with "timely publication of budget and plans to all citizens, a competitive and meritocratic civil service, and opportunities for citizens’ to hold public servants to account and provide input.”

Mr. Vinh reinforced this message of accountability, noting that "in the current reform program, the National Assembly and the Government are very committed to improve transparency. State agencies must devote all their efforts to serve citizens and enterprises.

"Fighting corruption is a long-term agenda,” said Ms. Kwakwa. "It requires continuous, serious efforts from the government, the society as well the Vietnamese people.”

During the development of the Vietnam 2035 report, the World Bank and the Government of Vietnam will continue to consult the public on themes of Vietnam 2035. These discussions will be conducted on the Vietnam 2035 report website so that the public can send questions and comments to experts who directly work on the report. Please join!

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