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Vietnam, Israel begin negotiation over labour cooperation



Vietnam and Israel kicked off negotiation over a labour cooperation agreement with an online meeting on January 21.

Vietnam, Israel begin negotiation over labour cooperation hinh anh 1

Vietnam and Israel kicked off negotiations on a labour cooperation agreement on January 21. (Photo: VNA)

At the meeting, both sides discussed technical issues to clarify their labour policies and regulations, as well as issues of priority and concern.

They agreed to finalise negotiations and sign the agreement as soon as possible in 2021, with a view to bringing more Vietnamese labourers to work in Israel in the field of agriculture.

Israel has a high demand for migrant workers, particularly in agriculture, healthcare, construction and restaurants, among others, while Vietnam has an abundant supply of hardworking and educated workforce.

Both nations have huge advantage to further collaboration thanks to the complementary nature of the two economies.

Vietnamese exports to the Mediterranean Sea country slight fell in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Vietnam witnessed strong surge in its key exports like coffee, footwear, cashew nut, telephones and spare parts, seafood, and garment and textile./.  VNA



Digital transformation and the digital economy



The fourth industrial revolution, digital transformation and the digital economy are mentioned many times in documents of the 13th Party Congress. 

VietNamNet would like to introduce the speech delivered by Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung at the congress.

Chuyển đổi số và kinh tế số

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung. Photo: Pham Hai

The desire to develop a prosperous and happy country and the desire for a mighty Vietnam have been aroused. The flag has been raised to gather all of Vietnamese people. The way to the target has been shown, which is science and technology, innovation, the 4th industrial revolution, digital transformation, and digital economy. The decisive factor for success is Party building and reorganization tasks so that people always believe in the Party’s leadership.

Digital technology, digital transformation, digital economy, and digital age are a process occurring over decades. It is a global trend, an irreversible process. The physical world is being digitized. Real life is being brought into cyberspace. The process of creation, production and business is taking place more and more in cyberspace. With the emergence of the 4.0 industrial revolution, with the push of the world Covid-19 pandemic, the world is at the breakthrough point in the digital transformation process. This is an opportunity for Vietnam to realize its aspirations for building a mighty and prosperous country.

Digital economy includes economic activities that use digital information and digital knowledge as the main production factor. It uses the Internet and information networks as space for operation; and uses ICT, i.e. electronics, telecommunications and information technology, to increase labor productivity and to optimize the economy. Simply, the economy is related to digital technology.

In a narrow sense, the digital economy is only related to the ICT sector. In a broad sense, these are areas that are close to digital technology, such as e-commerce, the FUNDAMENTAL economy, and sharing economy. In the broadest sense are all of the domains where digital technology is used.

The digital economy is a long evolutionary process. It is the process of digital transformation on the national level. At different levels, every field, every business, every individual can use digital technology to better do their jobs, or even make breakthroughs to change the quality of their work.

Digital economy helps increase labor productivity, helps economic growth. Digital economy also helps sustainable growth, inclusive growth, because it uses knowledge rather than resources. The lower cost of participation in the digital economy creates business opportunities for more people; digital technology is borderless, thus reducing the rural-urban gap. Digital technology also gives us new approaches, new solutions to effectively solve human long-standing problems, such as environmental pollution, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and measuring the social mood, people’s participation in policy making, etc.

Vietnam’s digital economy over the past time has developed haphazardly, but it has grown quite rapidly thanks to relatively good telecommunications and IT infrastructure with wide coverage and high number of users. That development is also thanks to the Vietnamese people’s passion about technology, the young, well-trained, well-educated, good-at-math and hard-working population of Vietnam, and the Vietnamese people’s character of quickly adapting to the change. This is Vietnam’s advantage for digital transformation. Now we need the guidance of the Government, a National Strategy on digital transformation and the digital economy.

In September 2019, the Politburo issued Resolution 52-NQ/TW on a number of guidelines and policies for Vietnam’s active participation in the 4th industrial revolution. It emphasizes the urgent need to speed up the process of digital transformation. In June 2020, the Prime Minister issued the National Digital Transformation Program to 2025, with a vision to 2030. Vietnam is among the few countries in the world that issued a national strategy on digital transformation very early.

The fastest way to accelerate the digital economy is to use digital technology to change the way we are manufacturing and working. But who will do this? That will be digital technology businesses. Therefore, it is necessary to start digital technology and develop Vietnamese digital technology enterprises. Using digital technology to solve Vietnamese problems, and from the cradle of Vietnam, these technology businesses will go global. Technology is born to solve problems, where there is a problem, there is technology, there is a solution. Problems are everywhere, maybe in our daily work, and each of us can start a technology start-up to solve our problems. The revolution of all the people to build digital start-ups and digital popularization will help Vietnam digitize the economy very quickly.

Digital technology will spawn new business models that challenge or replace old business models. For example, Uber challenges taxis, Fintech challenges traditional banking. Allowing mobile telecommunications accounts to pay for goods will solve the problem of non-cash payments for 100% of people, but also challenge banks. The question is whether we dare to accept these new business models. If we dare to accept but are the last to accept, it is not of much value.

That is why many people say that digital transformation is more of a policy revolution than a technology revolution. The first is adopting new business models, new technologies that fundamentally change industries. Often creation destroys the old. If we accept the new, new technology of the world will come, talents from all over the world will come, a new industry will emerge, and the cradle of Vietnam will create exportable digital technology products. But it must be an early acceptance, earlier than others. If walking behind or at the same pace with others, there will be no chance to change Vietnam’s ranking. When we accept the new, we may lose something. But we don’t have too much to lose; that’s our opportunity.

The traditional approach to policy is usually: what we can control, we open it, and vice versa. The new approach that many countries apply is called the Sandbox approach: what we do not know how to manage, let them self-develop, but within a certain space, within a certain time, for problems to be revealed. After that, policy and regulations are designed to manage. This is one of the policy approaches suitable for the 4th industrial revolution, for embracing new business models and innovation.

The fundamental factors to support Vietnam’s digital economic development are: Firstly, modern, world-class telecommunications – IT infrastructure, broadband, high-speed Internet. Each citizen should have a smart phone, and 5G technology should appear in Vietnam at the same pace as developed countries.

Secondly, the Government’s policies are related to digital economy and digital technology, and the Internet must be globally competitive so that Vietnamese people do not have to go abroad to launch digital technology start-ups, and foreigners and talented people from all over the world can come to Vietnam to develop technology.

Thirdly, the Government will spend more on digital products, lead the digital economy through building digital and e-government to create the initial market for developing digital businesses.

Fourthly, human resource training, in parallel with the introduction of English and IT training in compulsory training programs from high school. It is a must to implement retraining, advanced training in digital skills, digital competencies for the workforce. Colleges should have official retraining courses and advanced training, with the time to be only 6-12 months and granting certificates only. This is the best way to deal with a serious lack of manpower.

For digital transformation, Vietnam can choose a 3-step strategy: Step one, accelerate the digitization of industries, promote digital government, digital enterprises, and digital society in order to increase operational efficiency and labor productivity, and create new growth opportunities. Step two, use digitization as a competitive advantage domestically and globally. Step three, move towards a comprehensive digital economy, where all sectors are digitized, forming a new generation of digital industries, which will be the growth engine for the economy.

In digital transformation, the press and the media play an important role. The mission of the press and media is to protect the Party’s root and foundation, and to protect the good cultural values of the nation. The more we want to go forward, the more we want to conduct digital transformation; the faster we want to develop, and the more we must be consistent, the more we have to keep our roots and foundations; to proactively and actively fight against malicious information, to build clean and healthy cyberspace; to honestly reflect the main flow of society, to create social consensus, to spread positive energy, to build social trust and to create aspirations for a mighty and prosperous Vietnam. Every country that wants to develop and thrive must arouse the spiritual strength of the nation.

And finally, when the digital revolution, the 4.0 industrial revolution happens, the future will not lie in the extended line of the past. In countries like Vietnam we have a chance to make a breakthrough. But it must be new, non-traditional, non-sequential thinking. Both state agencies and enterprises need a breakthrough in thinking, in policy, and in approach.

Nguyen Manh Hung (Minister of Information and Communications)


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Vaccine nationalism



Vaccine nationalism has become alarming, as politicians have criticized the previous US President Donald Trump for his “America First” doctrine.

Chủ nghĩa dân tộc vắc-xin

More than 55% of Israelis have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Timesofisrael

When I wrote this article, 4.77 million Israelis had received at least 1 dose of the Covid-19 vaccine; 3.44 million of them had completed second injections. More than 55% of Israel’s population have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

But not many countries are as lucky as Israel. This is a special case as Israel has a small population and enormous financial capacity. Meanwhile, many poor African countries may only be able to start vaccinating next year.

Wealthy countries, accounting for only 16% of the world’s population, have bought up to 60% of the worldwide supply of vaccines. Some have even ordered a volume of vaccine that is much higher than their population. Canada bought vaccines for 453.1% of its population, the UK 270.3%, Australia 225.1%, and the US 182.8%.

At the same time, most developing countries are waiting to receive the vaccine distributed by the COVAX Facility. COVAX is part of an unprecedented global effort to provide vaccines for at least 20% of the population in each participating country by 2021 to protect those most at risk from severe illness from COVID-19 and save lives. It is co-led by Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, WHO, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and works in partnership with UNICEF, the PAHO Revolving Fund, the World Bank, civil society organizations, manufacturers, and others.

Immune oasis

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Covid-19 vaccination for a volunteer in the state of Florida, USA.

Even the new US President Joe Biden, who declared that America was back to engage with the rest of the world, has focused solely on vaccinating the American people, reinforcing an “oasis of immunity” for themselves.

A recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit estimates that the US, UK, Israel and the European Union (EU) will achieve “wide coverage of immunization” by the end of 2021, while developing countries will not be so lucky. It also said that 84 of the world’s poorest countries will not receive enough vaccines to achieve immunity until 2024.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, General Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), in an article published in the Foreign Policy magazine in early February, wrote: “Vaccine nationalism is not just morally indefensible. It is epidemiologically self-defeating and clinically counterproductive.”

In fact, weak cooperation across countries is a major hurdle in the worldwide rollout of vaccinations at a scale that can contain and end the pandemic.

Vaccine fairness is just a slogan

Vaccine fairness has become a slogan but it should have been a tool to protect people around the world, in both rich and poor countries, and urban and rural areas, enhancing the international community’s ability to block Covid-19.

Unfortunately, this is not the case today. The COVAX Facility is struggling to buy enough vaccines for 20% of the population of low-income countries by the end of 2021, a not so strenuous target.

Chủ nghĩa dân tộc vắc-xin

Volunteers wait to be tested at a vaccine testing facility in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: AP

The prospect of vaccine inequality is clear and visible. While children in many countries are forced to stay at home, and many children out of school have become child laborers and child brides, Israel has begun to set up corridors for its citizens to travel to some countries after receiving vaccinations.

So-called “vaccine passports” will become important to economic, educational, and social development. Inequality in access to vaccines, besides the pandemic in general, will wreak havoc on many poor countries and their citizens.

In a report released last October, the World Bank predicted that a recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic could push about 150 million people into extreme poverty between 2020 and 2021. The UN migration network estimated that, in 2019, remittances sent by 164 million migrants working in wealthy countries to their relatives at home – in poorer regions – helped about 800 million people with a total value of $554 billion.

In 2020, this figure is expected to drop by a fifth, the largest reduction in history. Europe and Central Asia are expected to suffer a nearly 28% drop in wages sent home from other countries, while it is 23% for sub-Saharan Africa, 22% for South Asia, and more than 19% for the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

At the end of February, WHO announced that globally, the number of Covid-19 vaccinations surpassed the number of reported infections. However, it said that more than three-quarters of those vaccinations were in just 10 countries that account for nearly 60% of global GDP. About 130 countries, home to 2.5 billion people, had yet to take a single dose of the vaccine as of Feb. 5.

As a result, this vaccine nationalism will lead to widespread lack of access to vaccines in many countries, even by 2023.

Vicious circle

Chủ nghĩa dân tộc vắc-xin

Some researchers around the world have called the current vaccine access a new form of racism.

If immunization continues in the current uncooperative manner, it will take a long time to reach the level when the pandemic is under control. Scientists have pointed to another gloomy scenario, in which new variants develop and spread to people who may have been immune to the previous virus. And the new variants may be even more devastating.

The world could fall into a vicious cycle again.

Not only do developing countries suffer the consequences of not being properly vaccinated, a study by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) conducted last spring indicated that if countries continue to pursue the uncooperative approach to vaccine distribution, the global GDP loss could reach $9.2 trillion.

A more optimistic scenario shows that the damage could be reduced to $4.4 trillion, of which developed economies will suffer 53%, or about $4.8 trillion or $2.4 trillion in the optimistic scenario.

The ICC study also recommends that investment sources in equitable vaccine access should be seen as a major investment opportunity, and developed countries have a clear economic incentive to speed up vaccine distribution on the basis of global coordination, minimizing the possibility of the negative impact of supply-demand shocks in third world countries, which can lead to great economic losses in developed countries.

Some researchers around the world have even called the current vaccine access a new form of racism (and I agree), characterized by priority access to vaccines for certain countries and for certain people. Much of this priority is based on wealth and geography, creating a global supply crisis.

In a global pandemic, that means no one is safe and worldwide immunity is at stake.

Pham Quang Vinh


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Vietnam, Venezuela seek to beef up friendship, cooperation



Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza has affirmed that his country always attaches great importance to and wants to further strengthen the comprehensive partnership with Vietnam.

Vietnam, Venezuela seek to beef up friendship, cooperation hinh anh 1

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh (Photo: VNA)

During his virtual talks with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh on March 5, Arreaza congratulated Vietnam on the success of the 13th National Party Congress, while praising the Southeast Asian country’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic as well as in maintaining economic growth momentum.

Minh briefed on Vietnam’s situation and the outstanding outcome of the 13th National Party Congress as well as the country’s COVID-19 response measures and solutions to promote socio-economic development and ensure social security.

He affirmed that Vietnam supports efforts by the constitutional government of Venezuela to promote political dialogue on the basis of respecting Venezuela’s Constitution and aspirations of Venezuelan people, thus gradually solving difficulties and boosting socio-economic development in the current context.

The two officials focused their discussion on measures to further enhance the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

The two sides agreed to maintain mechanisms to promote cooperation between the two nations, especially the Vietnam-Venezuela Intergovernmental Committee for Cooperation and the Political Consultation between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

They also consented to increase exchanges between ministries, sectors and businesses, and foster trade and investment ties in areas of mutual interest such as agriculture, oil and gas, health, commerce, culture, and sports and tourism.

The two sides pledged to promote people-to-people exchange and operation of friendship associations.

Vietnam and Venezuela also agreed to enhance the exchange of views on international and regional issues of shared concern, and work closely at multilateral forums of which both nations are members./. VNA


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