On the one hand, 16 tropical typhoons, the highest number ever recorded over the past five decades, wreaked havoc on Vietnam resulting in heavy human and material losses. Local people have been contending with raging dengue fever outbreaks across the country. In addition, several shortcomings of the State’s management of the economy still hindered the country’s development.

On the other hand, for the first time in years, Vietnam completed and surpassed all 13 socio-economic targets set by the National Assembly. The gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 6.81 percent, while inflation rate stood at 3.53%, below the government's 4.0% anticipated target, and State budget deficit reached  3.5% of GDP.

The Central Bank has reported healthy liquidity in the foreign currency market and Vietnam's foreign exchange reserves reached a record of US$ 51.5 billion.

Vietnam’s stock market has something to cheer about, as the VN-Index jumped to 950 points, the highest number since 2008.

Notably, trade value in 2017 was recorded at USD 425 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of USD 2.7 billion as a spotlight of Vietnam's economy last year. Meanwhile, the total number of new businesses climbed to nearly 127,000, posting an increase of 15.2 per cent against 2016.

Leaders of the 21 APEC member economies joining a photo session on the occasion of the 25th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. Photo: VNA 

Additionally, Vietnam successfully hosted APEC Year 2017, which left deep and lasting impressions on the organization member states. Besides, Vietnam actively handled many complicated corruption cases, considerably winning trust from the people.

Last year, Vietnam also saw achievements in building up the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) as a revolutionary, regular, elite, and gradually modernized military. Troops in the whole military have further promoted training and combat readiness quality, firmly protected the national sovereignty, maintained social order and security to ensure a peaceful environment for economic development, and joined hands in search and rescue missions, beautifying the image of Uncle Ho’s soldiers in the new context.

The country’s success in overcoming difficulties over the past year demonstrated the sound leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam as well as affirmed the whole people’s trust in the Party and State. These achievements will pave the way for the country to enter 2018, the important transitional year of the implementation of the Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) for 2016-2020.

The year of 2018 is anticipated to bring the country both new opportunities and challenges, in a particularly complicated world.

Vietnam’s macro-economic growth is stable but not sustainable; labor productivity is still low; business restructuring was slow; there are some existing problems in sectors like education-training, healthcare, culture, and sports; crime, traffic accident, traffic congestion, and environmental pollution are all still urgent matters.

As a result, it is necessary for Vietnam to focus on addressing those problems for the sake of the people and the country’s development.

Accordingly, the country has to maintain a stable macroeconomic development, re-structure its  economy in combination with creating new innovative growth model, encourage start-up, improve product quality, productivity and competitiveness, further streamline administrative procedures to lure more investors and benefit businesses, boost the fight against corruption, enhance people’s living standards, protect environment, and raise capability in the natural disaster prevention, risk reduction, and adaptation.

Furthermore, the country should attach importance to securing military-defense work and security maintenance, and fostering its foreign relations in order to build a peaceful environment and facilitate the country’s stability and socio-economic development.

The VPA, that made efforts in task performance last year, has to actively and effectively contribute to the national construction and defense cause, while further beefing-up training and combat readiness to be ready to deal with any circumstances as well as work with local authorities to ensure social order and security.

In brief, firm determination and achievements gained last year by the whole Party, people and military will lay the foundation for Vietnam to continuously carry out and fulfill all set targets and missions in 2018 and the following years.

Written by the Editorial Board

Translated by Van Hieu