Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc shakes hands with participants in the inventment promtoion conference (Photo: VNA)

Dak Lak (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has described the Central Highlands as a "sleeping beauty” whose enormous potential and advantages have yet to be fully tapped.

He made the comment at the region’s fourth investment promotion conference in Buon Ma Thuot city of Dak Lak province on March 11. 

The biggest-ever investment promotion event in the region brought together nearly 1,000, including economists, Vietnamese and foreign entrepreneurs, along with representatives of international organisations and diplomatic agencies.

The Government leader considered the Central Highlands, consisting of Dak Lak, Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Nong and Lam Dong provinces, as a springboard to the development of the central region as well as the southeast and southwest of Vietnam.  

The region is home to nearly 2 million hectares of basalt, or 60 percent of this soil’s total area in Vietnam, which is favourable for coffee and pepper farming. Although the country is a leading coffee and pepper exporter in the world, most of the exported products are unprocessed with low added value, PM Phuc analysed, suggesting investors focusing on these trees to rake in higher benefits.

Regarding tourism potential, he said the Central Highlands boasts imposing natural landscapes, many beautiful sites and a nice climate which are suitable for tourism and also cannot be found in other regions.

He underlined the Government and the region’s determination to turn the Central Highlands epics into world intangible cultural heritage, asking the region to conserve local cultural identities, especially the gong culture.

At the conference, PM Phuc asked the Central Highlands provinces to form large-scale organic agricultural areas. He recommended them promote industrial development by modernising agriculture, boosting processing activities, and expanding the value chain of products from industrial trees.

The Central Highlands also needs to enhance regional connectivity to expand the market for its products and foster tourism, he added.

He reiterated the Government’s resolve in protecting forests, which is regarded as the core of security in the region as well as the entire country.

“We should be aware that protecting forests is meant to protect the living environment, water resources, livelihoods of people and heritage space of our ancestors. All activities to destroy forests and exploit forest products illegally are crimes,” he said.

The leader praised investors in the region for creating a new momentum for local development, asking them to do as they say when investing here.

At the event, head of the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands To Lam, who is also Minister of Public Security, pledged to support and closely cooperate with investors.

Aside from the Government’s incentives, the provinces also have their own support policies such as in site clearance, infrastructure building, and making environmental impact assessment reports. They will streamline administrative procedures and ensure transparency to help investors save time and unofficial expenses, he added.

At the conference, some projects received credit agreements worth over 29 trillion VND (1.27 billion USD) from banks. Investment certificates and agreements were handed over to projects with a combined capital of 80 trillion VND (3.5 billion USD). -VNA