Fostering Cooperation in Green Economy, Digital Economy

8:28:36 AM | 8/9/2023

As the world undergoes rapid and profound changes with the trends of sustainable development and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Vietnam and Singapore have many new opportunities to strengthen their investment cooperation in the fields of digital economy and green economy.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his spouse host an official welcome ceremony for Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his spouse, Singapore, February 2023

The Partnership for Digital Economy and Green Economy was established during the visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to Singapore in early 2023. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on this partnership was signed by Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung and Singaporean Second Minister for Trade and Industry cum Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng. This is an important basis for the two sides to boost their collaboration in the areas of circular economy, clean energy, climate action and other related fields.

Green economic cooperation

Singapore is currently implementing the Green Plan 2030 - a nationwide movement to promote sustainable development. Some of the key points of the plan are to mandate all new vehicles to be clean energy models and double the number of electric vehicle charging points by 2030. The plan also aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills by 20% in 2026 and 30% in 2030 and achieve net zero emissions as soon as possible in the second half of the century. Green economy and green growth are global megatrends that Vietnam is also following. Recognizing the importance of green growth and sustainable development, Vietnam has developed the Green Growth Strategy and its action plans and carried out four groups of objectives and solutions: Reducing emissions, greening economic sectors, greening consumer lifestyles, and ensuring inclusive equality for all. Vietnam is currently pursuing these four objectives through specific programs and projects with great determination.

At the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh pledged that Vietnam will achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This shows that Vietnam is very committed to realizing the goal of green growth toward sustainable development. With their foresight and common goal of sustainable development, Vietnam and Singapore have promoted programs such as a just energy transition partnership and net zero emissions. Promoting the power grid connectivity between Vietnam and Singapore is also expected to be a model for cooperation in trade and electricity connectivity in ASEAN for sustainable development goals. According to economic experts, Vietnam needs to leverage Singapore’s experience and technology in the green economy because Singapore has a strong advantage in this field while Vietnam has a high demand for it. This will create a corridor for expanding cooperation between the two countries.

Boosting digital economic cooperation

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has a strong impact on Vietnam and provides new opportunities for Vietnam to integrate more deeply and effectively into the world economy. The digital economy in Vietnam has many favorable conditions for development such as a fast-growing, widely covered network of modern telecommunications, information technology and internet infrastructure, and high user density. According to the “e-Conomy SEA 2020” report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, Vietnam was one of the countries that maintained double-digit digital economic growth. By 2025, Vietnam’s digital economy was projected to reach US$52 billion, making it the second-largest digital economy in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam has a lot of potential to develop its digital economy rapidly. Digitization, transformation and digital application trends are happening fast and widely in many sectors, such as commerce, transportation, banking, healthcare, education, tourism and entertainment. Vietnam currently has thousands of innovative digital startups every year. Many of them have demonstrated their capabilities and undertaken high-tech projects. The robust development of the digital economy in Vietnam offers opportunities for many international businesses, including those from Singapore. According to the MoU, Vietnam and Singapore will exchange management experience, initiatives and platforms in digital transformation on three pillars: digital government, digital economy and digital society. They will also support Vietnam to build a digital platform and foster digital transformation in priority areas such as population management, finance and banking, land and e-commerce. Moreover, the two sides will cooperate to develop and connect digital government, digital economy and digital society, including sharing and connecting national databases such as data on goods, vehicles and trade on the way to implement import and export procedures in a digital environment.

In addition, Vietnam and Singapore need to broaden the scope of cooperation within the MoU framework, with a focus on the fields that the two countries have strengths, complementarities and synergies in, such as innovation, digital transformation, energy transition, green transition, green finance, science and technology.

By Huong Giang, Vietnam Business Forum