From 2021, a digital transformation ranking will be given to ministries and provinces each year, measuring the extent to which national and local authorities have developed online activities in all areas of society and economy.
Leading by example, Vietnam’s administration is prioritizing e-government as a central pillar of its ambitious national digital transformation strategy to increase digital infrastructure, solutions and capacity in government, industry and society.
The aim is to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with all branches of government running in a digital technology environment.
Two important national databases will digitize information on population and land, enabling e-identification and authentication to be in place by the end of 2021. Supporting measures include capacity development and digital skills training for both government and businesses, with Vietnam set to rank among the top 4 ASEAN countries on the United Nations e-government rankings by 2030 – and among the top 70 worldwide.
Rapidly digitizing infrastructure
With a young, 100 million-strong population and a consistent GDP growth rate of around 7 per cent over the past 30 years, Vietnam is rapidly digitizing its infrastructure through national broadband roll out and 4G/5G deployment as the key to digital transformation and international economic competitiveness.
Starting in major urban centres such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, affordable 5G will be critical in building smart cities and powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution to increase economic growth, generate jobs – and work towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Scientific and technological innovation, including new applications such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR), underlie this strategy – and are dependent on international cooperation in research, development and the transfer of new technologies and commercial models in Vietnam.
Going virtual in Vietnam
All of this will be on display at ITU Virtual Digital World 2020, three days of exhibition and debate taking place online from 20 to 22 October. The first-ever virtual event from ITU Telecom, Virtual Digital World 2020 will build the foundations for the next physical event, ITU Digital World 2021, to be hosted in Hanoi, Vietnam, in October of next year.
Vietnam has experience in hosting successful high-level virtual conferences, having convened regional leaders and politicians online for the 36th ASEAN Summit earlier this year. The focus there was on cooperation and unity in recovering from the health, social and economic impact of the pandemic – a theme expected to underpin discussions at ITU Virtual Digital World 2020.
Building back better together
But the emphasis this October will be on how national digital strategies have changed or are changing in the era of COVID-19. The critical importance of digital technologies to governments, economies, society and individual lives has never been clearer than now. And neither has the digital inequality gap. Laid bare in both developed and developing markets is the disparity between those who have relied on high-speed, reliable connectivity, digital tools and skills to work, study and socialize – and those who do not have access to the digital world and the benefits it brings.
How can governments and private sector players work together with the help of the international community to invest in network deployment, redirect resources and refocus strategies to close the digital divide? Which new or emerging technologies might be most cost-effective or fit-for-purpose? Will the pandemic stimulate sufficient demand, or are other demand-side initiatives needed – and who should then take the lead on developing them? How can we build back better, together?
The answers to these questions and more will be found in the roundtables and Forum debates at ITU Virtual Digital World 2020, the first major ministerial meeting of its kind to be held since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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