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Vietnam Reform and Development Forum 2020

September 29, 2020

Hanoi, Vietnam


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High-Level Forum Discusses Vietnam’s Strategies to Support COVID-19 Recovery, Sustain Longer-Term Growth

HANOI, September 29, 2020 – The Government of Vietnam and key development partners convened today at the annual dialogue platform, “Vietnam Reform and Development Forum 2020,” to discuss how to harness opportunities emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic to support a robust recovery and sustain longer-term growth.

The forum takes place in a challenging context which requires Vietnam to make difficult adjustments to its medium-term development plan and long-term strategy. COVID-19 impacts are compounding the existing slow-down trends in growth of trade, GDP, and productivity since the global crisis of 2007-09 and have disrupted global production networks on an unprecedented scale.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam H.E Robyn Mudie said: “A commitment to inclusive and sustainable growth will help Vietnam overcome the economic challenges created by COVID-19, and help its economy thrive in a post-COVID world. Australia is proud to support the Vietnam Reform and Development Forum, in a partnership with the World Bank.”

At the same time, the impacts of COVID-19 can also bring about opportunities that might benefit developing countries. For Vietnam, forum participants—which comprise of policy-makers, economists and private sector executives—identified the two most important mega-trends to be the shift in the global value chains and investment system and the rise of the contact-free economy.

These two trends, which are not entirely new, are now speeding up due to COVID-19”, said Carolyn Turk, Country Director for the World Bank in Vietnam. “By strengthening reforms in these two areas in an effective manner, and the way it has handled the COVID-19 health crisis, Vietnam could leverage these trends to get back on track towards its aspiration of becoming a high-income country by 2045.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the fragility of global value chains (GVCs) which are built around just a few hubs and has provided new impetus to the ongoing reconfiguration of the global production network towards more flexibility and agility. The shift to a more diverse, short-distance network offers a unique opportunity for Vietnam to deepen its participation in global and regional GVCs. The World Bank estimates that a 1% increase in GVC participation boosts per capita income levels by more than 1% – about twice as much as conventional trade.

At the same time, the pandemic might permanently reshape behavior habits towards the heavier use of digital technologies and may trigger lasting organizational changes to the way businesses operate more efficiently. In this way, COVID-19 could act as a catalyst for Vietnam to speed up the digital transformation it has already embarked upon. On this note, participants discussed the foundations that need to be in place to support the emergence of a robust and inclusive digital economy.

The Vietnam Reform and Development Forum is the biggest policy dialogue of the year between the Government of Vietnam and development partners. This year’s forum continued to be sponsored by the Australian Government through the ongoing Australia-World Bank Group Strategic Partnership - Phase 2 (ABP2).

  • 08:00 - 08:05

    Introduction of VRDF 2020’s objectives and participants

    Mr. Pham Hoang Mai, Director General of Foreign Economic Relations Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment

    08:05 - 08:20

    Opening remarks



    Welcoming remarks


    H.E. Nguyen Chi Dung, Minister of Planning and Investment

    Mme. Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam

    H.E. Robyn Mudie, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam

    08:20 - 08:30

    Introduction of forum program

    Introduction of co-chairs and session moderators

    Mr. Pham Hoang Mai, Director General of Foreign Economic Relations Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment

  • Session 1: Covid-19 and Viet Nam’s Actions to Seize Opportunities and Move up the Global Value Chain
    Moderator: Dr. Vu Thanh Tu Anh, Dean of Fulbright School of Public Policy Management, Fulbright University Vietnam

    08:30 - 08:35

    Introductory remarks


    08:35 - 08:55

    Keynote speech: Overview of Global Megatrends in Global Trade and Production Networks

    Dr. Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank’s Vice President for East Asia and Pacific

    08:55 - 09:05

    Restructuring and Moving up the Global Value Chains: Opportunities and Challenges for Vietnam in the New Context

    Dr. Jacques Morisset, Lead Economist, The World Bank in Vietnam

    09:05 - 09:15

    Seizing the GVC shift opportunities: Vietnam’s Actions for Inclusive Growth, Attraction of Quality FDI to Vietnam and Development of Vietnamese Private Economic Sector and Enterprises

    Dr. Jonathan Pincus, Senior International Economist - Advisor, United Nations Development Program  

    09:15 - 09:25

    Rising to the Challenge: Enterprise Actions for Resilient and Sustainable Recovery - the Case of Selected Most Affected COVID-19 Sectors (agriculture, tourism, logistics, transport, and health)

    Mme. Ha Thi Thu Thanh, Chairperson, Deloitte Vietnam


    09:25 - 09:35

    Quick responses from the moderator to the keynote speaker and panelists

    Moderator, keynote speakers and panelists

    09:35 - 10:15

    Plenary discussion and Q&A


    Session 1 co-chairs and moderator will facilitate the discussion.


  • Session 2: Digital Transformation and Structural Change towards Inclusiveness and Sustainability

    Moderator: Prof. Duong Nguyen Vu, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)

    10:31 - 10:35

    Introductory remarks



    10:35 - 10:50

    Keynote speech: Inclusive Digital Transformation: Opportunities and Challenges


    Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Former President of the Republic of Estonia



    10:50 -11:00

    Vietnam’s Actions to Promote Digital Transformation as a Driver of Inclusive and Sustainable Development

    Mr. Nguyen Trong Duong, Deputy Director General of Authority of Information Technology Application



    11:00 -11:10

    Business Sector Actions: Bringing Digitalization to All

    Dr. Bui Hai Hung, Director of VinAI Research, VinGroup




    Making Digital Transformation Inclusive


    Mr. Winfrid Messmer, Chairman of Digital Sector CommitteeEuroCham Vietnam


    11:20 -11:30

    Quick responses from the moderator to the keynote speaker and panelists



    11:30 - 12:20

    Plenary discussion and Q&A


    Moderator, keynote speakers and panelists


  • 12:20 - 12:50

    Guiding speech by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc

    12:50 - 13:00

    Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung’s response to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s guiding remarks and concluding remarks


  • WHEN: September 29, 2020, 8:00 - 13:00 (Hanoi time)
  • WHERE: Livestream on World Bank Vietnam Fan Page