Conference “Viet Nam's economy in the medium term 2021-2025: Recovery and growth accelerates”

Opening Remarks by UNDP Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen

January 20, 2021

Excellency Mr. Tran Quoc Phuong, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment

Mr. Luu Quang Khanh, Director, National Center for Socio- Economic Information and Forecast, Ministry of Planning and Investment

Representatives from line ministries, research institutions and private sector;

Colleagues from UN agencies and International Development Partner Agencies

Representatives from media organizations

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good morning!

It is an honor to welcome you to the conference Vietnam's economy in the medium term 2021-2025: Recovery and growth accelerates.

In July last year, UNDP and the National Center for Socio-Economic Information and Forecast, Ministry of Planning and Investment co-organized a workshop (“COVID-19: Impact and perspectives on economic recovery in Viet Nam") where the results of our collaboration were presented, and frank, open discussions were held  on the impact of COVID-19 in Viet Nam.

Continuing our collaboration, with the objective of “informing the Government of Viet Nam’s response to and recovery from COVID-19,” today we jointly organize this conference to discuss the outlook for Vietnam’s economy over the next five years and action to turn the expected rebound from COVID-19 into a sustainable economic recovery.

Since our last workshop, the GoV’s swift action that has contained the resurgence  of COVID-19 in Da Nang and helped Viet Nam achieve 2.91% GDP growth – one of the few countries in the world to record positive GDP growth in 2020. The UNDP Human Development Report 2020 ranks Viet Nam, for the first time, among the High Human Development Group, with 46% HDI growth rate over the period 1990-2019. This is one of the most rapid transitions to high human development in history. Viet Nam’s relatively stable measures of income inequality is another great achievement the country  can be proud of.

Looking forward, the key question for all of us is how Viet Nam can build on this progress  and transform its economy to achieve rapid productivity growth, international competitiveness, resilience, economic and social equality and harmony between  People and the Planet. In Human Development language, the question can be framed as follows: how can Viet Nam, even in our VUCA world,(volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) expand the array of choices available to all Vietnamese people so that they can develop their capabilities and realize their full human potential? How can we provide quality health, education, and other social services to all citizens, leaving no one behind? How can we build a green, sustainable economy that delivers productive employment opportunities and a decent standard of living for all?

The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us that we live in a world characterized by vulnerability, uncertainty, and complexity, which places a premium on our ability to collect and process information, respond to opportunities and challenges and assess our actions in a systematic, clear-sighted manner. The availability of vaccines is an important milestone, but will take time to produce, distribute and administer the vaccines to a large enough population to slow the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, the resurgence of the disease, and the appearance of new highly contagious strains, have dashed hopes of an economic rebound early this year.

Today Viet Nam iss at a critical juncture as it will launch a new five-year Socio-Economic Development Plan and ten-year Socio-Economic Development Strategy in a context of continuing global uncertainty. The SEDP and SEDS will establish a broad vision for economic recovery in the short term The strategic policy choices Viet Nam makes  in its next ten-year socio-economic development strategy and five-year socio-economic development plan will  define Viet Nam’s ability to turn the COVID-19 rebound into a bold recovery in 2021 and beyond.  Equally, it will determine the ability of the country to accelerate  policies to achieve the medium-term aspirations of realizing the SDGs and attaining high-middle income country status by 2030.

But in this VUCA world, Viet Nam will need to continue to demonstrate  the acuity and responsiveness that was so much in evidence in the response to Covid-19. Discussions like today’s are an opportunity to share information and perspectives, which can help policy makers evaluate conditions as they change and consider problems from multiple perspectives.

In discussion with Vice Minister Phuong, and under his leadership, we propose to make the event today an annual event in partnership with MPI, Fulbright University Viet Nam among other partners. The intention of the proposed “Viet Nam Economic Direction” event would be to bring together Government, business, scholars and civil society to pool data, expertise and perspectives, enriching participants’ understanding of global and national trends, emerging opportunities and challenges and implications for government policy, business and society. 

In closing, I would like to thank MPI Deputy Minister Phuong, NCIF colleagues and MPI for the close cooperation and support, and express my strong belief that Vietnam’s success in achieving the twin  goals of protecting the health of the people and economic  growth in 2020 points the way toward a robust recovery and renewed progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals. And importantly, to do so in a way where Viet Nam is not left behind in the world and where No One within Viet Nam is Left Behind. We are proud to be a partner of the GoV, MPI and Vietnamese people on this journey.

On the occasion of coming new year of the Buffalo , I would like to wish you all and your families great  health, happiness, and great success.

Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

Thank you.