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Accomplish the strategic breakthroughs for the rapid and sustainable development of Vietnam

(PTOJ) - The identification of strategic breakthroughs in each stage of national development plays an important role as leverage for socio-economic development. Therefore, the Socio-economic Development Strategy (2011-2020) specified three strategic breakthroughs which continue to be supplemented and developed in the Documents of the 13th National Party Congress. This article begins with a definition of “strategic breakthroughs”, then clarifies some of their aspects that are inherited and developed at the 13thCongress, and finally suggests some conditions to successfully implement the strategic breakthroughs.


Source: Vietnam New Agency (VNA)

1. Definition of “strategic breakthroughs”

In the Vietnamese language, “breakthrough” can be understood in noun, verb and adjective forms. As a noun, it indicates processes, fields, contents, issues which are critically important and need strong impact. As a verb, “to breakthrough” is to “break”, “smash” and overcome the existing, normal values to create new, significant changes and achievements. As an adjective, “breakthrough” means changing the current state, resulting in considerable achievements. In whatever form of interpretation, this word denotes a strong impact on critical, pivotal and significant stages to bring about a disruptive success. 

Strategy can also be understood as a noun or an adjective. As a noun, it means a plan to realize a specified goal, such as “economic development strategy”. As an adjective, it implies “very important, critical to the goal”.

“Strategic breakthrough” here can be interpreted as a noun phrase to represent a process, an issue which is both disruptive and strategic. 

Thus, “strategic breakthroughs” of a country in a certain stage include “disruptive” factors, which will create drastic, innovative and positive changes that contribute to the fulfilling of strategic goals successfully and promptly. 

Taking that into account, each country should have its own options for strategic breakthrough in specific stages of development to mobilize sufficient resources to implement, accelerate the process to achieve its strategic goals. It is of great significance to identify the “right” and “exact” strategic breakthrough for the prosperity and well-being of the country.

2. Views on strategic breakthroughs in the Documents of the 13th Party’s Congress - The inheritance and supplementation.

The strategic breakthroughs mentioned in the Documents of the 13th Congress are inherited and supplemented from strategic breakthroughs in the “2011-2020 Socio-economic development strategy” of the Party.

The 2011-2020 socio-economic development strategy set three strategic breakthroughs, including: (i) perfecting the mechanism of the socialist-oriented market economy, with focus on creating a fair competitive environment and administrative reform; (ii) rapidly developing human resources, particularly high-quality human resources, focusing on the fundamental and comprehensive renovation of the national education; closely combining human resource development with the development and application of science and technology; (iii) building synchronous infrastructure systems, with a number of modern works, focusing on transportation and infrastructure systems in major urban areas(1).

The approach to those strategic breakthroughs is based on situational awareness and assessments on the bottlenecks that have blocked the socio-economic development in Vietnam over the past time. The implementation of these strategic breakthroughs has gained some initial positive outcomes. However, the fact of our country’s socio-economic development has revealed several shortcomings emerging in the implementation process of the strategic breakthroughs. Some shortcomings have not been properly solved, thus creating bottlenecks to the national growth and development, for example, the incomplete socialist-oriented market economy’s mechanism, slowly improved human resources in terms of structure, quantity and quality which cannot meet the demand for development, backward science and technology, and the lack of synergy and connectivity in the infrastructure development which has focused mainly on roads and transport system. As such, for the coming time, it is essential to continue to implement the strategic breakthroughs, however, some following adjustments should be made in response to the new background and situation in Vietnam and in the world. 

- In regard of “perfection of the mechanism of the socialist - oriented market economy”, the Documents of the 13th Congress specify “Continuing the perfection and quality improvement of socialist - oriented market economy’s mechanism, in order to make it comprehensive, synchronized, integrated, focused on manufacturing markets, particularly the land use rights, science, and technology markets. Mobilizing and utilizing market-based resources. Renovating the national administration, particularly society and growth rate. Building a socialist law-governed State’s apparatus which is streamlined, competent and effective; strengthening decentralization process to ensure synergy, promote creativeness, activeness and accountability of different levels and sectors”(2). Obviously, the view on socialist oriented market economy’s mechanism in the Documents of the 13th Congress is consistent with the previous tenures in terms of comprehensive, synchronized, modernization and integration - oriented perfection. At the same time, the mentioned market economy mechanism refers to the roles of the State and the market in the economy, in which the latter distributes resources, while the former manages and creates micro conditions to facilitate the market’s operation. However, comparing with the 2011-2020 socio-economic development strategy, in the strategic breakthroughs in the Documents of the 13th Congress, the focus was shifted from “creating a fair competition environment and administrative reform” to “manufacturing market, particularly the land use right market, science and technology”.

Over the past period, Vietnam’s socialist oriented market economy’s mechanism has been doing well the task of creating a fair competition environment and administrative reform. Vietnam’s economic freedom index was 55 points in 2019, a significant increase compared to 35 points in 1997. This proved that the market, as a subject in the market economy mechanism has worked more and more effectively. Such a high economic freedom index reflects the improved equality among different subjects in the economy. (Figure 1)

Besides, the operation efficiency of administrative apparatus in Vietnam has been much improved which was illustrated by the people and organizations’ satisfaction of administrative services access; the high accomplishment level done by State employees when they directly handle administrative procedures, or when they receive, handle, give recommendations to, and reflect people’s opinions on the competent authorities. The Satisfaction Index of Public Administrative Services in 2017 (SIPAS 2017) shows that people and organizations’ satisfaction index of public administrative services was relatively high in almost elements, approximately over 70% (Table 1).

In details, SIPAS 2017 measured the administrative service delivery of State’s offices in local level based on 5 standard criteria: (1) open and comprehensive information (2) transparent and accurate information; (3) sufficient administrative application documents; (4) administrative fees/taxes as stipulated by law; (5) due handling time (from the application date to the receiving date). Consequently, the highest and lowest provincial satisfaction indexes of public services were 97.54% and 57.59% respectively, approximately 84.2% on average.

Regarding the satisfaction index of State employees, SIPAS 2017 measured their quality based on such attitude criteria as communication, listening, response, instruction, service delivery and the working regulation compliance. This index was 81.56% on average throughout the country.

People and organizations’ satisfaction index of public service delivery was 81.56% on average in the country.

Thus, the hindrances to administrative reform and creating a fair competitive environment have been gradually overcome. However, during the 2011-2020 period, the markets of manufacturing elements, the land use rights, science and technology were not solved properly. Some conflicts arose when handling the benefit relationship between the State, people, the enterprises in land acquisition, land use right trading, or the inadequacy in science and technology. The 2015 Science and Technology report demonstrates that Vietnam innovation rate in the 2011-2020 period was 10.68% but focused mostly on IT, telecom, finance, banking, petroleum, aviation, while the level of technology of the Vietnamese enterprises was lagged behind for two or three generations in the world. 

On the situational awareness, the 13th Congress of the Party set up a priority to gain breakthroughs in the socialist oriented market economy mechanism in Vietnam, which is set to focus on the markets of land use right and science and technology. This is not essentially to ignore other aspects but to continue to promote what has been done and to elaborate the incomplete work, to mobilize all strengths and resources to handle the bottlenecks in the previous period in order to build a really modern, integrated market economy mechanism for the next stage.

- Breakthrough in human resource, science and technology. The 13th Congress’s Documents inherited the breakthrough in human resource, science and technology as mentioned in the 2011-2020 Socio-economic development strategy, however, it supplemented: “Continuing to comprehensively develop human resource, science and technology, combining creativeness and renovation with encouraging national development aspiration, the pride of the nation, the spirit of self-reliance and to promote the values of Vietnamese culture and people”(3). It is noted that 3 breakthroughs for the 2011-2020 period focused on the economic sector and others directly related to it, namely human resources, science and technology. Some sectors, including culture, were not given appropriate attention to, in spite of their strong and long-term effect on the socio-economic growth. Indeed, in the 8th Party Congress, the significant role of culture was recognized and since then, has been supplemented, developed through the following tenures. Accordingly, we aim at building an advanced culture imbued with strong national identity, and for the first time affirm that “culture is the spiritual foundation of society, the goal and the driving force for socio-economic development”(4), at the same time, an important internal strength to ensure the sustainable development and firm protection of the country(5). Over the past time, we have taken economic growth so seriously that we have disregarded culture. Consequently, we have witnessed a sound economic recovery but a deteriorated culture, with distant, aloof and standoffish behavior in our society. This has addressed the need to add culture to strategic breakthroughs which in details are to uphold the quintessence of Vietnamese culture, the fine values of the Vietnamese people; to arouse patriotic sentiment, national pride, and the desire for prosperous development, to maintain cultural identities and to absorb fine and advanced cultural values of mankind. It is a culture that contributes to creating a talented and virtuous Vietnamese man.

- Breakthroughs in completing the building of socio-economic infrastructure. Besides continuing the core contents of the “breakthrough” in completing the socio-economic infrastructure as defined in the 2011-2020 socio-economic development strategy, which is “Building a synchronous infrastructure with some modern works, focused on the urban transport and infrastructure system in major cities(6)”, the 13th Congress’s Documents added: “with a focus priority on climate change infrastructure. Accelerate digital infrastructure development, building and synchronizing the national, regional and local database infrastructure to create a platform for digital socio-economic development”. The supplementation is an appropriate response to the climate change and the era of digital economic platform.

3. Conditions to successfully implement breakthroughs

Firstly, strong political awareness and determination of set strategic breakthroughs

The whole political system should well recognize the role and significance of implementing the strategic breakthroughs to the success of socio-economic development strategy 2021-2030. On the basis of strong political consensus, will and determination, bodies in the political system will establish specific and suitable action plans to implement the breakthroughs. Furthermore, during the implementation, the strategic breakthroughs should be indoctrinated and closely combined to the organization’s activities. All cadres, Party members should be fully informed of the strategic breakthroughs in order to grasp and implement them in daily work.

Secondly, consolidating the principle of Party leadership.

The Constitution of Vietnam 2013 affirmed the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) over the country. This affirmation is consistent and a solid principle of Vietnam’s revolution and goes in line with the socio-political regime that Vietnam follows. The Party’s leadership constitutes a pillar of the political system’s operation; The Party maintains its leadership over the whole political system in general and the government in particular, to ensure the building of the law-ruled State which is of the people, by the people, and for the people, and governing social relations based on law, and all powers belong to the people.

Thus, the implementation of strategic breakthroughs must be placed under the leadership, inspection and supervision of the Party on a regular and close basis. 

Thirdly, ensuring all needed resources to implement the strategic breakthroughs

Required resources are not only concern finance but also include humans, policies, and mechanism, etc. during the implementation, it is important to keep a close watch on the utilizing of such resources, on the basis of attaching importance to competency and responsibility of the assigned persons. Regarding the tasks governed by the market, the State should provide a legal framework by issuing policies to facilitate the operation of the market. Human resources and the management apparatus are important to support the market’s operation. Each sector should have a working group/board to supervise and support the implementation. 

Fourthly, inspection, supervision and adjustment going along with implementation.

Inspection, supervision and adjustment should be carried out on a regular basis at all levels of the agencies related to the implementation of the strategic breakthroughs. This aims to evaluate the compliance, and help adjust and timely handle cumbersome issues that may arise.

Fifthly, reviewing the implementation on a regular basis.

It is necessary to review the process of implementing the strategic breakthroughs in order to withdraw lessons on a regular basis, for example, once a year. By evaluating the results, shortcomings, reasons, and suggesting solutions, we can timely figure out what we have done exactly, what has to be done, then we can make suitable adjustment to the roadmap. Pilot implementation is important for new issues in order to have appropriate adjustment before official application.



(1), (6) CPV: Documents of the 11th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.32, 32.

(2), (3) CPV: Documents of the 13th National Congress, Vol I, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2021, p.220, 220.

(4) CPV: Documents of the 8th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1996, p.110.

(5) CPV: Documents of the 12th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2016, p.126.

MA, Doctoral candidate NGUYEN THI QUYNH ANH

Institute of Political Economics,

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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