The following were chosen as the 10 most notable events of 2017.
1. Overcoming difficulties to meet all 13 socio-economic targets set by the National Assembly:
For the first time in years, Vietnam completed and surpassed all 13 socio-economic targets set by the National Assembly. The macro-economy was stable, inflation was kept under control, State budget collection and other major economic targets were met. A Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 6.81 per cent was achieved and export revenues exceeded US$200 billion. The country attracted more than $33 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), welcomed 13 million international tourists and saw over 120,000 new businesses established. Such outcomes enabled implementation of resolutions adopted at the 12th Party Congress.
2. Hosting APEC 2017, promoting regional co-operation and enhancing nation’s prestige:
Themed “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”, APEC Vietnam Year 2017 was a comprehensive success. Major orientations were mapped out to propel economic cooperation in Asia-Pacific region and further deepen relations between Vietnam and other APEC member economies. The event enhanced Vietnam’s international standing.
3. Major corruption cases cracked:
In 2017, several serious corruption cases were brought to book, like the Oceanbank case involving Ha Van Tham and his 50 accomplices, the case of Chau Thi Thu Nga and her nine accomplices in the Housing Group, the dismissal of Dinh La Thang from the Politburo and suspension of his NA deputy status, his arrest and launch of proceedings against him, investigating wrongdoings of many leaders of the State-owned Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group, forcing organisations and individuals involved to bear responsibility before the law. The indictment of high-ranking officials, incumbent or retired, demonstrated there is no “prohibited zone” in the fight against corruption, and affirmed the determination of the whole political system and society to combat all forms of corruption.
4. Promulgating a resolution defining the crucial role of the private economic sector:
On June 3, 2017, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong signed Resolution 10-NQ/TW on developing the private sector as an important driving force of the socialist-oriented market economy. On October 3, the Government issued Resolution 98/NQ-CP promulgating the Government’s action plan to implement the Party resolution. Accordingly, the State will remove barriers and prejudice, create favourable conditions for the private economic sector to develop in a healthy, effective and sustainable manner. Vietnam aims to have at least one million firms by 2020, over 1.5 million by 2025, and at least two million by 2030. The private economic sector is expected to contribute about 50 per cent, 55 per cent and 60-65 per cent to the GDP in 2020, 2025 and 2030, respectively.
5. Several BOT transport projects stirred controversy:
In 2017, shortcomings in some build-operate-transfer (BOT) transport projects attracted widespread public criticism. Many vehicle drivers and residents protested the location of and charges levied by several BOT toll stations, they objected to paying fees, prompting Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to ask responsible agencies to strictly address the problems and revise inappropriate procedures.
7. Health sector tackles dengue fever epidemic, serious medical incidents:
In 2017, a dengue fever epidemic broke out and spread across 63 cities and provinces. Of 163,600 cases recorded, 138,327 patients were hospitalised and 30 people died. The health sector also faced serious medical incidents like the deaths of eight dialysis patients in the northern province of Hoa Binh and four infants in Bac Ninh Province, as also violations in the management of medicine prices and use of cancer drugs.
8. Vietnam strengthened its position at regional and global sports events:
Vietnamese athletes ranked third with 58 gold, 50 silver and 60 bronze medals at the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 29) held August 19-31 in Malaysia. Track-and-field athletes won big with 17 gold medals, with swimmers alone claiming 10 of them.
Weightlifter Le Van Cong won a gold medal at the 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico, breaking his own world record in the 49kg men’s category and becoming the top disabled athlete in the history of Vietnamese sport with a collection of gold medals at Southeast Asian, Asian and world events.
10. UNESCO recognition of two more Vietnamese folk singing traditions:
At its December 7-8 session, the 12th session of the UNESCO Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Jeju, the Republic of Korea, two Vietnamese singing traditions were added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity: the “xoan" singing from the northern province of Phú Thọ; and “bai choi” singing in the central region. Xoan singing was taken off UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding thanks to great efforts expended to preserve this heritage over the past six years.