Vietnam’s imprint at WEF ASEAN 2018

The World Economic Forum on ASEAN in 2018 (WEF ASEAN 2018), one of the largest multinational events in Vietnam this year has come to a successful conclusion. Impressions of Vietnam left in the hearts of international friends include dynamism, professionalism, the passion and creativity of the youth and business community with a burning desire to "reach out to the sea" and deep international integration.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (fifth from right), Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (fourth from right) and heads of delegations at the opening ceremony of the WEF ASEAN 2018. (Photo: VNA)
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (fifth from right), Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (fourth from right) and heads of delegations at the opening ceremony of the WEF ASEAN 2018. (Photo: VNA)

Driving ASEAN entrepreneurship

In response to the practical needs of ASEAN countries in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), the WEF ASEAN 2018, hosted by Vietnam under the theme “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, has received the attention and support of many countries in the region and around the world.

The Government of Vietnam was represented by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and Deputy Ministers. There were seven heads of state, more than 1,000 delegates from 43 countries, representatives of businesses, arts and scientific organisations, societies and media in attendance at the event, showing the strong popularity of the WEF ASEAN 2018, as well as the prestige of Vietnam among international friends. The exciting atmosphere was maintained throughout all of the sessions.

The opening ceremony of the WEF ASEAN 2018 was attended by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, heads of the participating States, and delegations from regional countries and around the world. In his speech, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted ASEAN's opportunities and challenges in Industry 4.0; proposed priorities for ASEAN to continue to affirm its central role in the region, such as digital connectivity, data sharing, harmonising the business environment, promoting the formation and connection of innovation incubators, seeking and tapping into talents, and forming an ASEAN education network and the lifelong learning systems. The proposals made by PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc were highly appreciated by the delegates. They also emphasised ASEAN's united effort to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Industry 4.0, thereby contributing to the realisation of the 2025 Vision of building a strong, united and cohesive ASEAN Community.

During the three-day event, approximately 60 sessions and seminars were organised, presenting an opportunity for delegates to discuss issues of common concern related to Industry 4.0. The sessions' themes were diverse and practical, meeting the needs of all participants, such as Asia's geopolitical outlook, cyber security, orientation of self-strengthening capacity, office 4.0, among others. At a session themed “A new Vision for Mekong Region”, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other leaders agreed that the Mekong countries should work harder to promote their internal strengths and market advantage as well as the abundant young workforce to take advantage of the opportunities and benefits of Industry 4.0 for more sustainable development. The forum, themed “ASEAN4.0 for All”, was developed to give students, entrepreneurs, young professionals and the general public an opportunity to discuss what their future might look like as technological disruption shapes the ASEAN region. In the framework of the WEF ASEAN 2018, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc had many meetings with senior leaders of countries and the world’s leading economic groups. The PM expressed his wish that nations and international businesses will support ASEAN, including Vietnam, in their process of development and international integration.

The Vietnam Business Summit (VBS) 2018 is an initiative of Vietnam to introduce the potential market of Vietnam to foreign investors. The VBS attracted about 1,200 enterprises, focusing on conveying the message that Vietnam is a serious and reliable potential partner who always treasures connectivity and creativity. Addressing the VBS, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the factors that have made Vietnam an attractive investment destination for international friends, such as its stable political situation, a young and industrious workforce, trade relations with many countries and territories, and the efforts made by Vietnamese enterprises in innovation and development.

A thoughtful and professional host nation

Commenting on Vietnam's preparations for the WEF ASEAN 2018, WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab said he was very pleased with the effective coordination among the WEF and Vietnam in organising this event. Delegates from all walks of life also shared their views and ideas to contribute to promoting regional integration. This shows the efforts of the host country to bring multi-dimensional voices to the event. Of the more than 1,000 participants, there were about 50 delegates from the media, academia, and about 80 young leaders. At the sessions, ASEAN and international delegates recognised that Vietnam was a dynamic and open country with many achievements in socio-economic development. The Government of Vietnam has taken many measures to make better use of the opportunities offered by Industry 4.0 as well as to overcome the challenges posed by this revolution.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his spouse hosted a gala celebration of Vietnamese culture, a special event to welcome heads of state, country leaders and corporate executives to the WEF ASEAN 2018. The PM and participants gave a toast to a world of peace, stability and development and an ASEAN community of solidarity, unity and prosperity. Guests were treated to UNESCO-recognised music performances such as Hue royal court music, Bac Ninh love duets, choi singing, as well as performances of chamber and jazz music by Vietnamese artists of global renown. Music and dance performances by artists from the ASEAN Community were also staged. They also had a chance to enjoy traditional Vietnamese cuisine.

With its increasing position, strength and international integration experience accumulated over many years, Vietnam has contributed positively and effectively to the development of ASEAN and to the common flow of the world. The success of the WEF ASEAN 2018 is an important milestone for Vietnam, contributing to the integration of ASEAN in the Industry 4.0 era for peace, cooperation and sustainable development in the region and around the world.