|An overseas Vietnamese delegation takes a visit to Truong Sa (Spratly) islands__Photo: Thu Phuong/VNA
The Prime Minister on Nov.10 issued Decision 1334/QD-TTg, approving the Scheme on “Promoting the resources of overseas Vietnamese to serve national development in the new context”. On this occasion, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang, Chairwoman of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs, granted the Vietnam News Agency an interview where she assessed contributions of overseas Vietnamese to, and pointed out key tasks to promote their resources for, the country’s development.
Could you give an overview of the contributions of overseas Vietnamese to the country’s development in recent years?
Vietnamese living abroad are a valuable and highly potential resource that can make significant contributions to the country’s development. Since 2003, the Vietnamese diaspora has expanded from 2.7 million to approximately 6 million, exhibiting a noteworthy growth rate of around 5 percent annually. Overseas Vietnamese are currently living in more than 130 countries and territories around the world, with over 80 percent in developing countries.
The Vietnamese community abroad not only continues to integrate more deeply but also increasingly asserts its position, making specific contributions to both the host country and nurturing friendly relations. This community plays a role in promoting trade cooperation and enhancing the image of Vietnam’s people and culture.
There are four key fields where we can promote the resources of overseas Vietnamese to contribute to building the homeland.
First of all, this community has significant resources of knowledge, science and technology, and highly skilled workforce. About 10-12 percent of the nearly 6 million overseas Vietnamese, roughly 600,000 people, hold university degrees or higher. Among them are many renowned scientists specializing in areas where Vietnam has demand, such as information technology, electronics, telecommunications, machinery manufacturing, control engineering, biotechnology, space technology, new materials, nanotechnology, energy, economic management and finance. The Vietnamese workforce going abroad for employment not only contributes financially but also becomes a valuable source of skilled labor for the country. Most workers have stable jobs meanwhile some are able to establish businesses and production facilities after returning home.
In terms of economic resources, Vietnamese entrepreneurs are present in almost every country and territory worldwide. They wield economic influence that is increasingly impactful, not only on the Vietnamese diaspora but also on the local governments. Vietnamese entrepreneurs abroad represent the most active force in facilitating the penetration of Vietnamese products into diverse global markets. They play a pivotal role in creating distribution networks through numerous trade centers, organizations, or sectoral business associations. This is particularly evident in the promotion of strong sectors such as textiles, footwear, agricultural products, food items and handicrafts.
According to recent statistics, overseas Vietnamese from 35 countries and territories have invested in 385 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in 42 out of 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam with a total registered capital of USD 1.72 billion.
Additionally, there is also investment capital from overseas Vietnamese returning to the country in other indirect forms or in the form of domestic investment. Investment and business activities of Vietnamese people abroad have contributed to promoting socio-economic development, creating jobs for local workers and increasing tax revenue for the State budget.
Furthermore, overseas Vietnamese’s remittances to Vietnam, calculated from 1993 to 2022, has exceeded USD 190 billion, nearly equaling the disbursed FDI during the same period. Remittances to the country have consistently increased each year, even amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Vietnam has consistently ranked among the top 10 countries receiving the most remittances in the world for several consecutive years.
The overseas Vietnamese community is increasingly integrating into the host societies, holding stronger positions and participating in the political system at different levels such as federal and state legislators, city councils in countries like the United States, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. The number of individuals of Vietnamese origin involved in and holding significant positions in international organizations is also on the rise. This serves as a crucial foundation, contributing to building trust and deepening cooperation between Vietnam and the people, political leaders of nations, and international organizations. Many Vietnamese individuals living abroad, serving as representatives or executives in non-governmental organizations, have been actively involved in supporting charitable and humanitarian activities within Vietnam. Their contributions have played a role in poverty reduction, sustainable development and international integration of the country.
Despite having divergent political perspectives and attitudes, the overseas Vietnamese community’s shared spirit towards the homeland is evident in their desire to contribute to the protection of the country’s sovereignty over its territory and seas. Foundations such as the Fund for Vietnam’s Sea and Island Sovereignty and Truong Sa Club have been established in many places such as the Republic of Korea, Germany, Hungary and Poland.
Representative overseas Vietnamese delegations regularly visit Truong Sa Island, organized by the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs since 2012, attracting special attention and enthusiastic participation from the community.
The overseas Vietnamese community increasingly serves as a cultural bridge, promoting cuisine, language, and enhancing the country’s image, significantly contributing to connecting, strengthening foreign relations, fostering people-to-people exchanges, and cultural interactions between Vietnam and countries worldwide.
For many years, overseas Vietnamese have also actively participated in charity programs initiated within the country. Many delegations and volunteer projects organized by overseas Vietnamese directly support and provide gifts to regions of the homeland facing difficulties, making a significant contribution to the country’s achievements in poverty reduction and hunger alleviation over the past nearly 40 years of renewal. They promptly mobilize contributions and support during disasters, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Could you explain about the significance of the issuance of Decision 1334/QD-TTg in the current context?
The Scheme on promoting the resources of overseas Vietnamese holds comprehensive significance, mobilizing the resources of overseas Vietnamese to contribute to the country’s development during the intensive industrialization and modernization phase, associated with Vietnam’s goal to become a developed, high-income nation by 2045, as outlined in the 13th National Party Congress.
Firstly, the scheme strengthens the unified understanding that overseas Vietnamese are an increasingly important resource in contributing to the construction, development and protection of the homeland. It aims to formulate holistic, fundamental and sustainable directions, strategies and measures to both nurture and attract and maximize these resources.
Secondly, the scheme clearly defines the tasks of ministries, sectors, and localities in leveraging the resources of the overseas Vietnamese community. It establishes a mechanism for coordinated implementation, from the central to grassroots levels, both domestically and internationally, with specific key tasks. This includes creating a favorable environment for overseas Vietnamese to feel secure in their connection and contribution to the homeland. The project also involves a comprehensive review, revision and supplementation of legal regulations, ensuring that overseas Vietnamese enjoy a legal environment essentially equivalent to domestic individuals when engaging in investment, business, scientific and technological activities, cultural endeavors, among others. Simultaneously, it establishes a framework and sustainable mechanisms to encourage overseas Vietnamese to participate in the country’s development.
In the long term, the scheme will contribute to strengthening the global network of overseas Vietnamese, nurturing and developing the resources of this community, ensuring sustained development that can be harnessed for specific tasks over the long run. This involves intensifying the implementation of measures to care for and support a community with a solid and stable legal status, fostering development and integration in the host countries, especially in challenging areas. It also includes establishing and reinforcing the network of organizations and associations of overseas Vietnamese through various forms, acting as the core in gathering and mobilizing overseas Vietnamese to unite, build community and turn towards the homeland.
The scheme aims to identify and cultivate positive and influential factors within the community and in Vietnam’s relations with the host countries. It emphasizes enhancing activities to engage the younger generation of overseas Vietnamese, raising awareness about their roots, historical traditions and culture. Through these efforts, the scheme seeks to nurture and strengthen the emotional connection with the homeland, instill pride in the nation, and foster a sense of contributing to the nation-building process.
Could you outline the tasks of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs in the upcoming period to specify and implement the solutions proposed in Decision 1334/QD-TTg?
Resolution 36-NQ/TW asserts that overseas Vietnamese affairs are responsibilities of the entire political system and the entire people. In light of this spirit, the Scheme on “Promoting the resources of overseas Vietnamese to serve national development in the new context” specifies tasks of ministries, sectors and localities.
From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ perspective, aside from being the focal point for monitoring, coordinating, urging, and synthesizing the scheme’s implementation, the ministry will concentrate on specific tasks.
The first is to strengthen community support and mobilization, identifying new factors, promoting connections, and supporting the formation, consolidation, and development of associations, intellectual networks, and proactive entrepreneurs contributing to the country’s development.
Additionally, there will be an increased focus on engaging local authorities and organizations to ensure lawful rights and interests, creating favorable conditions to enhance the status and associations of overseas Vietnamese in host countries.
Secondly, emphasis will be placed on enhancing research and synthesizing information about the situation of resources of overseas Vietnamese. The ministry will support various sectors, localities, organizations, institutions, businesses and individuals in connecting and attracting resources of overseas Vietnamese. Collaborative initiatives, such as the Xuan Que Huong (Homeland Spring) event, youth summer camps, Vietnamese language training, conferences, workshops for feedback and annual charitable activities will be organized in coordination with localities.
Thirdly, activities will be organized to update information about the country’s situation and legal policies, combined with listening to the sentiments, desires, and opinions of overseas Vietnamese. Proposals will be made to competent authorities for reviewing, amending, supplementing, and issuing policies and laws to address difficulties and create favorable conditions for overseas Vietnamese to live, work, invest, produce and do business in Vietnam.
Fourthly, schemes related to overseas Vietnamese affairs will be continued, including the scheme of building a database on overseas Vietnamese; mobilizing overseas Vietnamese to introduce, consume Vietnamese products, and develop distribution channels for Vietnamese goods abroad for the 2020-24 period; and honoring the Vietnamese Language in the overseas Vietnamese community for the 2023-30 period.
Lastly, training courses will be organized to enhance the knowledge of officials involved in community engagement and attraction of resources of overseas Vietnamese.-