Joining hands in building the ASEAN Community in the Fourth Industrial Revolution era

17:10 | 11/09/2018

Politburo member and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc penned an article on the 2018 World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN Summit (2018 WEF-ASEAN) which opened in Hanoi on September 11.

joining hands in building the asean community in the fourth industrial revolution era
Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.-VNA/VNS Photo

The world is changing rapidly, driven by the shifts in globalisation and the tremendous leaps of science, technology and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Against such backdrops, the ASEAN countries are making every effort to overcome challenges and harness opportunities for development in order to realise the 2025 ASEAN Community Vision, for the establishment of a strong ASEAN Community that shall further uphold its central role in regional mechanisms.

As the host country for the 2018 World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN Summit (2018 WEF-ASEAN), it is Vietnam’s crucial responsibility to work together with WEF and ASEAN members to discuss issues pertinent to their national development in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Such discourse shall help realise the 2025 ASEAN Vision, in the interest and for the development of the entire region at large and each country individually, thus contributing to the common prosperity of the region and the world.

Along with other major multilateral forums and conferences held in Vietnam in the 2016-20 period, the hosting of the present 2018 WEF-ASEAN is yet another step towards realising the foreign policy orientation set by the 12th Congress of the Party, the Resolution of the Party Central Committee and the Directive of the Secretariat on uplifting multilateral diplomacy to a new height: “to improve the quality and effectiveness of multilateral diplomacy, actively contribute to the building and shaping of multilateral institutions.”

To join hands in building the ASEAN Community

ASEAN is faced with enormous opportunities for economic development and integration thanks to ever more extensive and intensive globalisation and the rapid spread of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, particularly digital technology, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and Big Data. In such context, Vietnam has actively worked with WEF and ASEAN countries in identifying the theme for the 2018 WEF-ASEAN: “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. This theme is not only in line with the development trend of the world, but is also integral to and complements the ASEAN theme for 2018: towards a “resilient and innovative” ASEAN Community, satisfying the common interest and benefits of countries in ASEAN and the region at large.

In the spirit of constructiveness and mutually-beneficial cooperation, we shall – along with countries in ASEAN and the region, the Forum’s and the world’s leading multinational corporations, and Vietnamese enterprises – discuss and suggest ideas, visions and orientations for the development and integration of ASEAN countries in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Namely:

First, to seek and create new dynamism associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, to foster more sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth by promoting reforms, stimulating the potential for innovation within businesses and the people, and developing such high-quality human resource and other prerequisites that is adaptive to the new technological environment of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and meet the needs of development and ever broader and deeper integration.

Second, to advance integration and connectivity within ASEAN as well as between ASEAN and the region and the world, through promoting digital connectivity, digital commerce, financial technology (fintech), value chain connectivity, quality and cohesive infrastructure, high-tech agriculture and a variety of other areas, so as to maintain the dynamic growth of ASEAN economies.

Third, to reinforce ASEAN centrality within the region, enhance resilience and adaptability in the face of global and regional volatility, promote innovation and raise the effectiveness of cooperation, thereby bringing about more practical benefits to people and businesses.

The 2018 WEF-ASEAN is not only an expression of Vietnam’s responsible role and contribution to ASEAN, but also an affirmation of Vietnam’s strategic vision in foreign policy and development. It is a strategic vision by the Party and State, to build an action-oriented, development-enabling government of integrity in service of the people and businesses, to place the people and businesses at the centre of development, and to vigorously encourage entrepreneurship, creativity and the dynamism of the people and businesses.

To further strengthen and raise the status of the nation

The 2018 WEF-ASEAN in Vietnam has been able to gather a large number of high-level leaders of ASEAN countries and its partners, as well as some 1,000 representatives from multinational corporations and ASEAN and global businesses, and around 800 Vietnamese companies. This is a solid testimony to the ever-growing role, credibility and status that Vietnam enjoys within ASEAN, the region and the world, building upon the successes of the 2017 APEC Year and the 6th Greater Mekong Sub-region Summit (GMS-6) in March this year. It is also proof of Vietnam’s attractiveness and the trust that the global business community and international investors vest in the development prospects of Vietnam. It is also a manifestation of Vietnam’s new status and power after 30 years of reform, exhibiting the country’s pro-activity and “stature” in international integration as well as in constructing and shaping the regional and global economy.

Under the leadership of the Founding Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab, WEF has been the cradle for many new and innovative development ideas of global strategic relevance. As a focal point that has garnered special attention throughout the region, the 2018 WEF-ASEAN is an opportunity for us to convey a message to the international business community about the policy and resolve of the Vietnamese Party and State of comprehensive national reforms and active international integration. We shall also broadcast an image of a peace-loving nation that enjoys political and social stability, a Vietnamese economy that is dynamic, open and rapidly growing, and a trustworthy, sincere and responsible partner for the region and the world.

The 2018 WEF-ASEAN shall also be a chance for us to deepen relations with a wide range of countries and partners, including neighbouring countries and strategic and key partners. This is a channel to strengthen the network of open, multilateralised and diversified foreign relations, thus benefiting our national security and development interests, and promoting our national credibility and prestige in the international arena.

To bring about real benefits to businesses and people

Exploring the theme of “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution” through 60 sessions, the Forum shall focus on the discourse and recommendation of ideas, orientations and policies to invigorate the potential, creativity and dynamism of businesses and people, towards building a people-centred, dynamic, strong and prosperous ASEAN Community. In particular, a wide range of practical topics shall be covered in great depth: innovation, start-up, new business models, the development of the digital economy, digital know-how and literacy, training and addressing employment challenges, narrowing the development gap and sustainable poverty reduction.

Of the nearly 1,000 international businesses participating, many are among the top 500 corporations in the world, who possess vast financial, technological and managerial capacity. By seeing for themselves in Vietnam, the growth of our country, the determination and effort to build our enabling Government and improve the investment climate, the business atmosphere full of vitality here in Vietnam, and the Vietnamese people, who are friendly, hospitable, open, dynamic, creative and endowed with an unbreakable aspiration and will to rise, we shall encourage them to step up networking and cooperation with and investment into Vietnam through a diverse variety of plans and projects, that shall better harness the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Cooperation with these multinational corporations shall be an opportunity and driver for Vietnamese businesses, daring them to think big and do big to raise competitiveness, quality and efficiency, and aim for the open seas.

The 2018 WEF-ASEAN shall include a wide range of events, including the Open Forum on Innovative Start-up, the Vietnam Business Summit, the Vietnam Cultural Soirée, national and provincial exhibitions, the latter organised by a number of provinces: Hanoi, Ho Chí Minh City, Da Nang and Quang Ninh, to name a few. These events are an opportunity for our agencies, sectors, localities and businesses to promote exchange, cooperation and networking with major corporations and regional and international enterprises, with an aim to expand markets and enhance the quality of investment, technology and tourism attraction, and harness external resources for development.

Given the new status and power of the country after more than 30 years of reform, the support from friends and partners, as well as the joint efforts from all levels, sectors, the business community and people, the 2018 WEF-ASEAN Summit shall undoubtedly be a success. This shall bring about real benefits to all involved, in the interest of cooperation, development and prosperity in ASEAN, the region and the world.

The success of the 2018 WEF-ASEAN shall continue to breathe new life and create new drivers for international integration, thus contributing to the affirmation of Vietnam’s role, status and active contributions in ASEAN and the region. It shall stir national pride and exhort the spirit of self-reliance and the aspiration to rise to the challenge, to build a socialist Vietnam whose people are well off, whose nation is mighty, who shall enjoy democracy, equality and modernity.

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