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Press Release

Viet Nam commits to national, regional digital transformation

As co-host of ITU Digital World 2021, the Southeast Asian country marks 50 years of ITU Telecom events and aims for inclusive tech-driven prosperity

Geneva, 12 October 2021

​​​Viet Nam seeks to stimulate trade, build skills, and strengthen Southeast Asian economies in line with sustainable development through digital transformation, the country's Prime Minister announced today.

The government, co-hosting a flagship conference with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), has pledged to harness innovation to improve people's living standards substantially by 2030.

“As the world is still severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, digital technologies and services have proven their superiority when it comes to flexibility and creating a conducive environment for ideas and initiatives to overcome challenges, safely adapt to the pandemic, and engage in sustainable economic recovery and growth," said the Prime Minister, Pham Minh Chinh, at the opening ceremony for ITU Digital World 2021 on 12 October.

In line with international practice, he added, “the Government of Viet Nam considers the digital and data infrastructure, alongside its national digital platforms, to be a key factor."

ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao asserted the need for public-private cooperation to extend digital benefits worldwide. He urged governments and industry everywhere to ensure connectivity for the estimated 3.7 billion people who still lack it.

“Together, we will make major leaps towards delivering on the promise to connect the unconnected by 2030," Zhao said at the conference opening in Ha Noi.

“The spirit of multilateral cooperation is what lies at the center of all ITU's events, activities and processes," he added. “From now until December, we invite public and private sector leaders to share experiences and expectations in the virtual sessions provided by this latest event in the 50-year-old Telecom series, ITU Digital World 2021."

Five decades on and still going strong
The ceremony marked the 50th anniversary of the first ITU Telecom, the forerunner of this year's largely virtual conference and exhibition.

In a formal opening ceremony livestreamed across the globe, ITU Digital World 2021 welcomed high level participants from the public and private sectors and across the information and communication technology (ICT) industry.

Nguyen Manh Hung, Minister of Information and Communications, expressed 's the host country's “heartfelt gratitude to the ITU and its Secretary-General Zhao Houlin, for having entrusted Viet Nam with the honour of organizing this event twice in a row – the 49th and 50th events, both convened virtually."

Last year, ITU accepted Viet Nam's initiative to rebrand from ITU Telecom World to ITU Digital World, reflecting the accelerating convergence of telecommunication and digital technology. “Also because of this convergence, the number of government ministers and global ICT industry leaders attending the event has tripled since last year," the Minister said.

“Vietnamese digital technology companies were given the hefty responsibility of preparing the infrastructure for the Digital World virtual exhibition," he added.

The three-month sequence of discussions highlights a timely theme: “Building the digital world. Together."

The first ITU Telecom, in 1971, was billed as 'A message to the 21st century'.

“Over the last half-century, ITU Telecom events have supported marvelous innovation," Zhao recalled. “They have provided a window into an industry that has been at the heart of life-changing advances in ICT, from the advent of the Internet to the powerful rise of wireless networks and emerging technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence, and others."

Viet Nam's national digital transformation plan aims to harness private domestic entrepreneurship in tandem with efficient e-government. Hosting Telecom parallels the country's ambitions for rapid, inclusive digital transformation that can illuminate viable socio-economic development options for the whole ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“This event will contribute to the exploration of the values of digital transformation and digital technologies, in the interest of a collaborative and sharing digital economy, for the benefit and progress of all people in all countries," said Prime Minister Chính.

Transformative policy approaches
This year's programme of ministerial roundtable discussions explores the role of policy and regulation in driving digital transformation.

In opening sessions, government ministers, telecom regulators and top-level industry representatives from examined how cutting costs can help accelerate digital transformation; how governments can work with manufacturers to incentivize cheaper plans for customers; and which new policy, regulatory, and public-private cooperation models work best to reduce end-user costs.

Upcoming sessions look at:
- Boosting infrastructure (Wednesday, 13 October), including accelerating and optimizing broadband infrastructure deployment and exploring current best practices, to help countries learn from each other as well as understand pitfalls to be avoided.

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Government services and content to drive digital transformation (Thursday, 14 October), delving into ways for government, industry and civic organizations to work together to mitigate digital inequality and ensure no citizen is left behind.

- Changing skills required, emerging, transformative technologies, and major challenges for the digital world (Forum webinars throughout November), addressing privacy protection and the industry's environmental footprint.

See the full programme and speaker line-up. Each roundtable is followed by an informal online networking session, open to all registered participants.

The virtual exhibition organized by the Government of Viet Nam showcase companies, countries, projects and products through an exhibition hall, 2D and 3D exhibition booths, national pavilions and online networking.

In parallel, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) shortlisted for the ITU Digital World 2021 Awards will pitch their innovative solutions with real social impact throughout November, with the Awards Ceremony marking the close of ITU Telecom Digital World 2021 on 1 December.

How to join:
Registration is free of charge and open to all.

About ITU
ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of nearly 800 private sector entities and academic institutions. Established over 150 years ago, ITU is the intergovernmental body responsible for coordinating the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoting international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, improving communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establishing the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to cutting-edge wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, oceanographic and satellite-based earth monitoring as well as converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world.