Microsoft Vietnam and the Ministry of Information and Communication signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aims to help accelerate the growth of the nation's information and communications technology industry.

The MoU, signed in Hanoi on April 20, also aims to help sharpen the sector's competitive edge in the global arena.

The two sides expressed the hope that their cooperation will help transform the information, communication and technology (ICT) sector into a key contributor to national economic growth as set out in the "ICT Vision 2020 Policy" of the Vietnamese Government.

Under the MoU, the two sides agreed to focus on building Vietnam's ICT human resources up to world-class standards; improving Vietnam's access to world-class technologies and productivity tools; cultivating a thriving local ICT industry that attracts the interest of foreign investors; stimulating innovation; and enhancing Vietnam's capacity to compete globally.

Microsoft will support the ministry to train 450 chief information officers (CIOs) in Hanoi , HCM City and Da Nang . It will also coordinate with the ministry to carry out a series of capacity-building workshops and seminars, and an executive briefing programme at Microsoft's hi-tech facilities.

Both sides are also discussing a pilot deployment of Microsoft's Windows 7 and Office 2010 in Government organisations with the aim of making the desktop infrastructure into a powerful strategic asset.

Michael Donlan, General Manager of Microsoft Public Sector Asia, said the MoU not only marked the continuing of the partnership between the two sides but also signified the beginning of their deeper partnership to support the Vietnamese Government's vision to develop Vietnam into a global ICT powerhouse and the sector into a key contributor to the national socio-economic growth.

"With a young and educated population of close to 90 million, we fully endorse this ambitious vision," said Donlan.

"As the world's largest IT Company, we want to continue to play a role to enable Vietnam and its citizens to realise their potential and make this vision a reality."

The Deputy Minister of Information and Communication, Nguyen Minh Hong, said he greatly appreciated the contribution of Microsoft to the sector's development in Vietnam as well as to the Government's efforts to realise its vision by 2020.

"The ministry will continue to define the public-private partnership as one of the key solutions to accelerating the industry's growth and ensuring sustainably in the face of international integration," Hong said.

"The two partners had successfully implemented the public-private partnership agreement for the 2007-10 period, making a great contribution the industry's growth," he said.

Also on April 20, the ministry granted its insignia to Christophe Desriac, former general manager of Microsoft Vietnam for his contribution to the industry's development in Vietnam during the past six years.

The company recently signed a MoU with the Ministry of Education and Training and other institutions to undertake training programmes for students and business people. It also established the Microsoft innovation centre in Hanoi , part of 110 Microsoft centres worldwide./.