Meta Group works with Vietnam on national digital transformation

(VOVWORLD) - The annual program Vietnam Innovation Challenge, part of the Vietnam Innovation Initiative (InnovateVN), aims to call for cooperation among sectors to create innovative initiatives for a prosperous Vietnam. On the occasion of Tuesday’s launch of this year’s program,  we talked to Rafael Frankel, the Meta Group’s Director of Public Policy for South and Southeast Asia, about Meta’s support for Vietnam on its journey of national digital transformation.  
Meta Group works with Vietnam on national digital transformation - ảnh 1Rafael Frankel at the launch of the Vietnam Innovation Challenge 2022 in Hanoi on October 25, 2022. (Photo: NIC)
Bao Tram: Welcome, Mr. Rafael Frankel, to VOV24/7’s Digital life. I know Meta has several programs to help Vietnam pursue digital transformation and develop a digital economy. Why does Meta sponsor these programs?

Rafael Frankel: First of all, thank you so much for your time. I’ve come to Vietnam for more than 20 years now and what I’ve seen over the course of these 2 decades is an extraordinary development of the country. Now you see not just a thriving economy generally, but, of course, the world here because of the thriving digital economy that has developed in Vietnam. And what we see in Vietnam is, I think, what most big tech companies see here, which is the amazing potential of the Vietnamese people and Vietnamese businesses to continue to move Vietnam forward and become a regional leader and a digital economy in the next generation. I think Vietnam’s economic miracle is really, first of all, I think, thanks to entrepreneurial, resilient, and determined Vietnamese people who just continue to strive, to move forward, and very smart policy making by the government at the same time, which has made Vietnam an open economy and one where foreign investment is welcomed, especially in the digital space. So we’re focused at Meta on doing everything we can to underline a long term commitment to Vietnam and collaborating with the Vietnamese community, Vietnamese businesses, and the Vietnamese government, to be a partner to Vietnam, and to do what we can to support the digital economic growth of the country, which we believe will be very strong over the next decades.

Bao Tram: Meta is helping Vietnam’s economic recovery. Can you give us some details?

Rafael Frankel: Sure! ….This is going to be where our focus is now: Vietnam is the leader in the region in terms of economic growth coming out of COVID. And so we want, during our partnership, to help innovation in Vietnam and drive digital economy growth here so that the government can reach its Industry 4.0 goals and so that Vietnam can be a regional leader in the digital economy in the coming years. We’re talking about a program we’ve done before. Since 2019, we’ve provided digital skill training to over 580,000 people in Vietnam, to over 64,000 SMEs in Vietnam, and over 25,000 students in Vietnam. You know the Innovation Challenge is the next step on that path, where we are trying to partner again with the government, businesses, and communities to help Vietnam develop the technologies that can drive innovation and digital economy growth for the next generation.

Bao Tram: Meta has suggested that other ministries work with the Ministry of Information and Communications to tap the resources and expertise of leading US technology companies. Meta says it’s ready to help Vietnam develop a legal framework for its digital economy because a free flow of data across borders is vital to a successful digital transformation. Can you eleborate on Meta’s plan?

Rafael Frankel: Sure! We’ve been working closely with the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Public Security in providing them feedback on a number of digital economy regulations, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, as well as a number of regulations in legislations that can impact the digital economy. We’re very supportive of the digital economy task force that was established between the US and ASEAN Business Council and the Ministry of Information and Communications earlier this year. I’m working in the context of that task force and through other partners in the government to try to create a digital economy regulatory framework that achieves a couple of things at the same time. First, it provides the Vietnamese community with strong security and privacy in the digital life, but also ensures that Vietnam can thrive as a regional leader in the digital economy in the coming years and decades. And the most important aspect in our regard is really to ensure that data can continue to flow freely across borders and that Vietnam maintains the open internet and open digital economy model that tie it to the rest of the world and allows for Vietnamese SMEs and large enterprises of Vietnamese mom and pop shops to access markets not just within Vietnam, but around the world, and really drive economic growth. That’s a kind of regulatory framework that were working on closely with the government. 

Bao Tram: Recently Meta launched a project called "Creators of tomorrow" to work with Vietnamese creators. Today’s event "Vietnam Innovation Challenge" is part of that project. Does Meta have a long-term plan to promote and inspire innovation in Vietnam?

Rafael Frankel: This is just the beginning. Even though we’ve been working on programming in Vietnam for a long time now, I already highlighted the fact that we’ve trained hundreds of thousands of people in businesses in Vietnam, and we’ve been working closely with the government and we’ve reached a hundred million people through our various campaigns. In terms of where we are in the journey, you know we have a saying at Meta that we’re only 1% finished. And I feel like that’s where we are in Vietnam. We’ve already set up developer circles in a few major cities around the country over the last few years. We’ve worked with people to enhance their programming and developer skills. Those are programs that were in place for many years. But I look at this as still towards the beginning of this journey and so this is the launch of the Innovation Challenge. Part of the  Innovation Challenge is trying to attract talent from overseas Vietnamese and overseas talent and bring that innovation here to Vietnam and demonstrate what Vietnam can do and how it can be a regional leader. And so I think we’re just getting started. And we’ll continue to innovate in terms of the programs that work on innovation.

Bao Tram: Thank you Mr. Rafael Frankel, the Meta Group’s Director of Public Policy for South and Southeast Asia, for granting VOV24/7 this interview.

Rafael Frankel: Thank you very much.