We’ve written about Vietnam’s initiative to create the next Silicon Valley in an earlier post. Da Nang buzzes with energy around the new entrepreneurship. According to this Atlantic article, interest in entrepreneurship in Vietnam is “at least as strong as in the [United] States… you hold an event for entrepreneurs here, and you’re going to have a packed house every single time”.
At the same time, more than 2/3 of the population is rural. Agriculture made up 20% of GDP in 2011 and fisheries and aquaculture accounted for 5% of GDP that same year. In 2005 (a little dated, sure, but still a useful benchmark) fully 60 percent of the employed labor force was engaged in agriculture, forestry, and fishing.
While there is a lot of excitement around innovation and technology, a big share of the population is engaged in work that is far removed from the innovation hubs and business accelerators of the cities.
When I was down on the beach the other morning, I heard the men in the water let out a holler before throwing a fish onto the beach. A fishmonger (wearing the helmet) grabbed it and dropped it into a bucket for people to buy.
The fish sold almost immediately.
Another holler came from the water. A log, caught in another net, had torn it apart. The team used the same ropes and belts to pull the log out of the water and they left the offending log on the beach.
The rest of the catch sold just as quickly.
Our stay in Da Nang is coming to a close.
On Thursday we’ll fly to Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City to spend the night before traveling on to Kerala in the south of India. We’ll be in Kerala for a bit more than a month, spending Christmas at a homestay in Forth Kochi. Then we’ll rent a flat in Ernakulam, a few miles to the east. We’re drawn to Kerala for its food, culture, sights and social system. Kerala has the highest literacy rate (94%) and the highest life expectancy (74 years) in India. A survey in 2005 by Transparency International ranked it as the least corrupt state in the country. And it is also the home of Tellicherry peppercorns, grown near the Malabar coast.
We’re excited about our next destination. We’ll have lots to share in future blogposts.