Bac Kan province, 17 July 2019 – Forty-six ethnic minority women groups gathered in Bac Kan city, Bac Kan province, today to meet with partners from the Government, business sector and non-government actors to explore the opportunities to apply Industrial Revolutionary 4.0 technologies in developing their businesses and escaping poverty.

This Meet and Match Networking Event kicked off a UNDP-supported initiative “Economic empowerment of Ethnic Minority Women via application of I4.0”, which is expected to enable 450 ethnic minority women to expand their business and escape from poverty.

Viet Nam has recently made remarkable progress in reducing multi-dimensional poverty, lifting 6 million people out of poverty in only 4 years between 2012 and 2016. The challenge now is addressing persistent poverty concentrated among ethnic minorities in geographically challenging environment.

In Bac Kan province, in particular, ethnic minority people make up 95 percent of multi-dimensional poor households. Ethnic minority people are mainly engaged in low productivity agriculture with limited access to markets; finance and innovative finance solutions; and new technologies. Moreover, their productions and livelihoods are vulnerable to the extreme weather events such as storms and flash flood while the access to micro-insurance is limited. In 2017, for example, Bac Kan ethnic minority loss due to natural disasters was 7.3 million USD.

Through the “Economic empowerment of Ethnic Minority Women via application of I4.0” initiative, poor ethnic minority women and their business partners, investors, government policy makers and service providers will be engaged in an Accelerator Lab Journey, building on the 3M (Match, Mentoring and Move) initiative* in 2017 and 2018.

Building on the strong commitment of the Government of Viet Nam in ensuring no one if left behind in the transition to the IR4.0, the initiative aims to maximizing IR 4.0 empowered opportunities, including

  • E-commerce platforms  enabling  small production units to link to the markets and in value chains;
  • Innovative finance solutions such as e-banking, e-payments, micro-insurance;
  • Social media and other e-platforms for online learning, skill training, peer to peer learining, coaching startups and obtaining information for disaster prevention and mitigation;
  • New production technologies such as smart agriculture, block-chain for tracing the product origins.
  • Data and tools for real-time citizen feedback and policy maker learning.

On this occasion, UNDP and Viettel Post signed a MOU to provide a framework of cooperation for supporting Viet Nam in achieving the SDGs, especially SDG1, SDG2, SDG5, SDG8, SDG10 and SDG13. Specifically, both Parties will jointly explore partnership/cooperation opportunities with ethnic minority women, business groups, including application of Industry 4.0 technology for identification and experimentation of local solutions for their economic empowerment and poverty reduction in all provinces in Viet Nam.

In his opening speech at the event, Deputy Chairman of Bac Kan Provincial People’s Committee Pham Duy Hung highlighted the importance of IT application of ethnic minority groups in their production and marketing to effectively expand their business and contribute to economic development and sustainable poverty reduction. “With the support from the National Poverty Reduction Coordination Office, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Meet and Match Networking Event today is very important, creating a technical network, connecting potential partners to support and build capacity for ethnic minority women groups in the province on I4.0 technology application in marketing,” Deputy Chairman Pham Duy Hung said. “This is a new approach and in line with the Government’s Industry 4.0. The ultimate goal is to have direct or indirect impact on the life of the poor, creating jobs and generating income for the poor”

Addressing the conference, UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam Caitlin Wiesen highlighted the opportunities that IR40 and digital technologies offer in connecting markets to local creative ethnic minority led businesses to close the gap and eradicate the last mile poverty that persists in Viet Nam.

There is a great potential that IR 4.0 and digital technologies offer to Ethnic Minority people and women to accelerate their efforts to improve the production and marketing of their products and businesses in ways that sustainably lift them out of poverty. We are keen to engage the Vietnamese business sector in this exciting opportunity and look forward to new possibilities generated with our partnership launched today with Viettel Post to expand e-commerce and e-payment services in rural areas of Viet Nam”.

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More on 3M initiative:

Engaging poor ethnic minority women, their business partners, investors, government policy makers and service providers in an Accelerator Lab Journey, in which actors:

  • Meet for understanding emerging challenges and opportunities in the local context and looking for solutions, particularly at how citizens are already addressing these challenges and opportunities
  • Match their efforts in assembling a portfolio of potential solutions and continuously testing them until actors are confident they can work.
  • Move for handing over the tested portfolio of solutions to actors for development programming, advocacy for policy change or spinning solutions off as private ventures.

More on Areas of Cooperation with Viettel Post:

The Parties intend to cooperate in the following areas of activity:

  1. Providing technical support to local EM business groups/enterprises in identifying and experimenting the best available local solutions for enhancing their businesses both in terms of scope, diversification, productivity, value addition and effectiveness, aiming at contributing to socio-economic development and reduction ò multidimensional poverty in the focus areas.
  2. The search and application of innovative solutions include introducing, experimenting and scaling up (a) the application of innovative tools such as e-commerce portals (for example VOSO), e-payment tools (for example Viettel Pay), postal/logistics services by EM businesses, women and men (for example MyGo); (b) certification of product origins of potential local EM business groups/enterprises under the framework of UNDP’s projects/programmes and facilitating the distribution of their local products via e-commerce channels (for example VOSO); (c) training capacity local EM business groups/enterprises, women and men on the application of those tools and services as well as on financial literacy;
  3. Exploring possibilities to expand the search and experimentation of solutions to (a) other areas such as and micro-insurance, micro-finance, value chain financing, etc. (during the second phase of the cooperation) and (b) other provinces in Viet Nam.

For more information, please contact:

Nguyen Viet Lan, UNDP Communication Analyst, Email: nguyen.viet.lan@undp.org, phone: 84-24-38500158

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