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The report suggests that Vietnam’s Development Strategy for the next decade must put productivity growth front and center, World Bank stressed.

World Bank Country Director: “Covid-19 Crisis Will Act as  an Accelerator of the Reform Agenda”
Ousmane Dione - World Bank Country Director for Vietnam. Photo: WorldBank
Launching Event
Vibrant Vietnam – Forging the Foundation of a High-income Economy
Opening Remarks by Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam
Ambassador Robyn Mudie
Mr. Vu Viet Ngoan, Former Head of Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Group
Mr. Nguyen Van Vinh, Vice President of the Vietnam Institute for  Development and Strategy
Colleagues, members of the press,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning! Xin chào!
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“It is my great privilege and honor to welcome you to the virtual launching event of our recently completed report, Vibrant Vietnam – Forging the Foundation of a High-income Economy. In line with the long-standing and fruitful partnership between Vietnam and the World Bank, the report provides analytical inputs and specific recommendations for the formulation of Vietnam’s Socio-Economic Development Strategy 2021-30.
The motivation behind our report is to support  Vietnam’s ambition of becoming an upper middle income country by 2030, and then a high-income economy by 2045.Having been in the country for four years, I came to know that nothing is impossible in Vietnam, as long as there is a strong will.But in addition, I also believe that achieving this ambition will require an upgrade of the economic modeladopted by Vietnam over the past three decades, because both the world and Vietnam are have changed so much, and will continue to change even at a faster pace in the coming decade.
The world has been changing: there has been a slowdown, even a reverse, in the globalization process, the pace of innovation has accelerated with the automation of the industrial sector and the rapid use of digital tools,the impacts of the climate change have become visible. In recent months, the world has been hit hard by the COVID-19 shock.
Vietnam has been changing too. Its population is aging, its cities have expanded, and a middle class has emerged thanks to the rapid and inclusive growth achieved in recent years. The private sector has also been growing, requiring a modern and effective institutional framework that supports their increasingly sophisticated businesses and innovation for reachingout further to domestic, regional and international markets.
The report suggests that Vietnam’s Development Strategy for the next decade must put productivity growth front and center. Building on the findings of the Vietnam 2035 Report, Vietnam’s own development experience, and the lessons from other countries, Vietnam will need to  balance accumulation and the efficient and productive allocation of four  types of capital— private, public, human, and natural. This balance will in turn be driven in large measure by the country’s capacity to innovate as well as to implement deeper institutional and market reforms.
In a few minutes, my colleagues will explain the main recommendations derived from the report including what needs to be done to make Vietnamese firms more dynamic and people more skilled to face the challenges of the future. They will also show that the priority should be on the efficient management of the country’s natural resources to ensure that next generations will continue to enjoy the country’s beauty. We don’t want a world where we will be perhaps richer but our wealth will mainly serve us to fight the damages of an uncontrolled economic expansion. 
Meanwhile, I am very happy to share with you three important aspects of this report. First, the report is the outcome of a highly consultative process in which the World Bank team has worked closely with the SEDS team and other relevant Vietnamese agencies and think tanks. Such a participatory and iterative process is not unusual in Vietnam,but once more, it has contributed to improve the quality of our analysis as well as to create a greater sense of ownership by local stakeholders. 
Second, using the comparative advantage of the World Bank,the report brings international experience from many countries, including countries that have graduated or are in the process of graduating from lower- to upper middle- or even higher-income status. While Vietnam should not simply try to replicate these experiences, it can adapt them to the national context and accelerate its transformation process. 
Finally, the report focuses on both general principles and specific policy ideas. Such combination aims at providing not only a sense of strategic direction for the country but also the necessary level of granularity that will transform ideas into actions.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
When we discuss economic policies today, we cannot stay away from the COVID -19 pandemic that has tipped the world in its deepest recession since the Great Recession, affecting most economies, including Vietnam.  The report has a limited coverage on Covid-19 crisis because it was mainly developed before the start of the pandemic. However, my office haslaunched a series of policy notes that discuss the challenges and opportunities associated to the COVID-19 crisis for Vietnam – these notes were shared with the Prime Minster and government ministries and they are now available on our website.
While the COVID-crisis has been a game changer, I believe that it will not alter the main recommendations included in the “Vibrant Vietnam” report. To the contrary, the crisis has exacerbated some of the megatrends that were already observed before the pandemic, such as the slowdown in the globalization process and the emergence of a contact free economy.  Therefore, I firmly believe that the Covid-19 crisis will act as  an accelerator of the reform agenda outlined in the report, which has become even more relevant.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank two Australian Ambassadors to Vietnam, Craig Chittick,and Robyn Mudie, as well as the DFAT team, not only for the ABP-2 financial support for the study, but also for being our invaluable partner through the preparation of the report. I am also grateful to our Vietnamese counterparts, especially our colleagues from the MPI and Vietnam Institute for Development Studies, for collaborative efforts, and substantive contribution to the report.
In closing, I encourage you to read the report, Vibrant Vietnam – Forging the Foundation of a High-income Economy, which includes an executive summary, the main report and five background papers.  By presenting the report in different formats, I hope we will be able to reach a broad and diverse audience and, so, work together in building a vibrant Vietnam.
Thank you”.

DIEP NGUYEN