Vietnam Digitalization Report

What are the major implications for e-governments (digital governments) brought by COVID-19 crisis?
Kartik Kapai
Research executive, Gambit
Executive summary
Governments across the globe understand the importance of digitalizing their services, first of all in order to control the inevitable widespread digital transformations of their economies and societies. A robust and proactive 'e-government' framework serves as a central pillar in instilling confidence amongst local businesses and facilitating seamless interactions with the citizens, a major step towards establishing a fully digitalized economy.

Vietnam is widely recognized as one of Asia's greatest success stories over the past quarter century, having overcome a tumultuous past and positioning itself today as a major manufacturing and services hub in the region. During the year 2021 and especially in its second half, geopolitical tensions and the global pandemic have hampered supply chains rooted in China, forcing numerous multinational manufacturing firms to reconsider their supply dependencies in the region. This has increased the recognition towards Vietnam's potential to serve as a viable alternative — a major opportunity for the country to further ignite its economic growth and its geopolitical importance in Asia. However, such an outcome will be extremely dependent on the country's ability to rapidly digitize its manufacturing processes and the government's ability to facilitate such an eventuality through policy and processes.

In this quest towards a fully digitalized economy and an ability to leverage technologically advanced manufacturing processes against regional competition, we believe that it is absolutely necessary for the government to lead by example. Thus far, the government has established commitments towards a completely digitalized government services system (level 4) by 2025, an ambitious yet critical step if it is to achieve its wider objectives. Gambit believes that over the next 3 years, the government must instrumentalize its digitalization strategy in a way wherein opportunities may be leveraged, and hurdles are intelligently overcome.

This report explores critical factors that must, in our understanding, form the backbone of Vietnams 'e-government' strategy in order to facilitate widespread adoption and ensure it remains sustainable in the years to come. We claim that the digitalization of government services must be hinged on four critical pillars that are measured routinely through strategic KPI's, namely: Efficiency, Resiliency, Transparency and Scalability. Furthermore, the strategy must ensure to emulate a 'Whole of Government Approach', leaving no ministerial agency, functional department, provincial government nor commune behind.

This report will also explore what we believe are the most imminent challenges to effective implementation of an 'e-government' strategy over the short-medium term in a country like Vietnam, highlighting key socio-demographic factors. As countries across the globe rush to digitalize their services, it is critical to identify best-practices and explore their applicability, clearly distinguishing between what is actionable and what is a mere PR stunt.

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