They are present in over 130 countries and territories, with more than 80% of their population residing in developed nations. Beyond integrating, the diaspora is steadily solidifying its standing, making tangible contribution to the host countries, fostering diplomatic and trade relations, and projecting a positive image of Vietnamese culture globally.

Overseas Vietnamese present gifts to children in Truong Sa.

Bright Prospects

Presently, Vietnamese entrepreneurs have established a formidable presence across the globe, wielding socioeconomic clout within not only their communities but also their host nations. These businessmen constitute the most proactive force in expanding the reach of Vietnamese goods to international markets, and establishing extensive distribution networks encompassing various commercial hubs and trade associations, particularly in sectors of strength such as textiles, footwear, agriculture, food, and handicrafts.

Recent statistics reveal that overseas Vietnamese (OV) from 35 countries and territories have invested in 385 FDI projects across 42 out of Vietnam's 63 provinces and cities, with a cumulative registered capital of USD 1.72 billion. Additionally, there exists a significant influx of indirect investment from the group in the domestic market, contributing to propelling socioeconomic growth, generating employment opportunities, and bolstering state revenue through taxation.

Moreover, remittances sent back to Vietnam between 1993 (when such data recording began) and 2022 surpassed USD 190 billion, nearly matching the total FDI disbursed during the same period. Despite COVID-19-induced challenges, remittance inflows have remained resilient, with Vietnam consistently ranking among the top 10 recipients globally.

Recently, the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the State Bank of Vietnam disclosed that remittances to the Southern economic hub exceeded USD 2.86 billion in the first quarter of 2024, marking a remarkable 35.4% year-on-year surge and the highest growth rate witnessed in the past three years. Notably, remittances grew 19.4% in the first quarter of 2023, and 14.2% in 2022.

Effective use of this resource holds paramount significance for socioeconomic development, the efficacy of monetary policies and governance, and the promotion of remittance payment services, said Deputy Director of the branch Nguyen Duc Lenh.

Alongside their economic contribution, the Vietnamese community abroad is actively engaged in environmental initiatives for the Truong Sa (Spratly). From 2012 to 2023, they raised funds worth over VND 28 billion (USD 1.1 million) for the building of sovereign-affirming vessels, island infrastructure development, procurement of gifts and essential supplies for island outposts and the DK1 platform.

Subsequent to their trips to the Truong Sa, the group organized numerous events advocating for the islands, including the establishment of the fund for Vietnam's maritime sovereignty in the Republic of Korea in 2015. They also developed the Truong Sa club in Germany in 2017, the Hoang Sa-Truong Sa club in Poland in 2019 and in the Czech Republic in 2022, the Vietnamese Community liaison board for Vietnam's sea and islands in Europe, and the Vietnamese sea and islands club in France in 2023. Additionally, they have actively participated in holding various seminars and forums on the East Sea issue.

Connecting, attracting OV resources

In November 2023, the Prime Minister approved Decision No. 1334/QD-TTg endorsing a project on leveraging OV resources for national development in the modern era. This comprehensive initiative aims to mobilize the resources to contribute to Vietnam's development during the industrialization and modernization phase, aligning with its ambition to become a developed, high-income nation by 2045, as outlined in the 13th National Party Congress.

The project seeks to foster a unified understanding that the overseas community constitutes an increasingly critical resource for the building, development, and safeguarding of the country, thereby formulating strategies to nurture and capitalize on their resources.

The project delineates the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, including the creation of environments conducive to OV contribution as well as the improvement of legal frameworks to ensure equitable treatment for them while engaging in investment, business, scientific research, technology, cultural activities in Vietnam. Additionally, it aims to establish sustainable mechanisms to incentivize the diaspora’s participation in national development across suitable sectors.

Over the long term, the project aims to bolster the OV network worldwide, which involves intensifying efforts to support legally secure, stable, and integrated communities, especially in challenging regions; establishing and reinforcing OV organizations and associations, and identifying and nurturing positive, influential figures.

Simultaneously, efforts will be made to engage their younger generation to enhance awareness of their heritage, historical traditions, and culture, as well as their deeper connection with the homeland, sense of national pride, and commitment to making contribution back home.

Other projects either being developed or being implemented include those on building a database of the group, mobilizing OVs for the introduction, consumption and distribution of Vietnamese products abroad for 2020-2024, and honoring the Vietnamese language within the OV communities.

Source: VNA