Can Tho’s social-economic achievements over the past four decades allowed its leaders to feel confident about the goal to transform the city into an industrialised one before 2020, becoming a driving force for social-economic development in the whole Southwest region.

After its liberation in 1975, Can Tho was an undeveloped city with an economy largely dependent on agriculture and fishery which produced small revenues.

Along with national economic reform, the city has also experienced rapid social and economic transformation in recent years, especially after it became the fifth centrally-governed city in 2004.

With an average growth rate of 11.23 percent from 1976-2015, Can Tho is food self-sufficient and is the Mekong Delta region’s leading seafood and food exporter.

The city’s total rice output is expected to reach 1.3 million tonnes in 2015, five times more than that of 1976, and its fisheries sector turns out 190,000 tonnes annually.

The industrial sector has developed quickly as well. In 2015, the city’s industrial value is estimated at 103 trillion VND in comparison with a mere 135.2 billion VND in 1976.

Income per capita is expected to reach 3,636 USD in 2015, the highest in the region.

The city’s trade and service sector saw a strong increase with the total retail sales reaching 81 trillion VND (3.75 billion USD) in comparison with 90 million VND (4,169 USD) in 1976.

The tourism sector has grown impressively and it expects to receive around 1.4 million tourists this year, 258,000 of which will be international visitors, generating 1.3 trillion VND.

The city’s development investment reached nearly 13 billion USD between 2004 and 2015 with a number of big infrastructure projects, such as the Can Tho International Airport, the 3,000-megawatt O Mon Thermoelectric Plant, the Can Tho Bridge and the Cai Cui Port.

The city’s poverty rate stood at 2.84 percent in 2014 and the city is working to reduce it to 1.84 percent by the end of this year; dozen thousands of houses have been built for impoverished families.

According to city leaders, Can Tho still faces challenges such as unsustainable economic development, limited industrial production scale and lack of hi-tech products, low workforce quality and weak infrastructure connectivity.

According to Resolution No 45 by the Politburo, Can Tho will be developed into a clean, green, modern city and serve as a gateway to the Mekong Delta region.

The city will play a key role in industry, commerce, service, education, training, science, technology, health, culture, transport and defence and security for the region.

In order to achieve these ambitious goals, the city will have to implement various measures from urban planning to economic development, according to the city’s Party Committee Secretary Tran Thanh Man.

The city will focus on shifting its economic structure towards industry, commerce, service and hi-tech agriculture as well as develop its external economy to make Can Tho a centre for economic activities and cooperation with foreign countries, said Man.

He continued to say the city would focus on training a qualified workforce in education and training.

Besides upgrading existing health centres, a number of new hi-tech health centres will be built, he said.-VNA