A forum to promote investment in the Central Highlands wrapped up in Buon Ma Thuot city on September 5 with more than 120 projects in various industries in the region sealed.

Almost 60 projects were inked in farm-forestry processing, 24 in tourism, 20 in industry, eight in urban development and 10 in health care, education and transport at the Forum on Investment Promotion for the Central Highlands, initiated by the Central Highlands Steering Committee, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and Central Highlands provinces.

The event brought together 500 local and foreign investors, representatives from international financial institutions and organisations and foreign embassies in Vietnam .

Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Truong emphasised that the Party and State have for a long time recognised the Central Highlands ’ important position as well as its potential, advantages and difficulties in socio-economic development.

That is the reason why the Party and the State have given a special attention to the region by adopting plans, policies, investment and other forms of wide-ranging assistance for its development, the Deputy PM underscored.

After 20 years of renovation, the Central Highlands has attained important socio-economic achievements with GDP growth rate reaching over 10 percent in the 2001-05 period, farming production developing in a fast and comprehensive manner, living conditions of ethnic minority people being improved remarkably and poverty rate dropping.

The Deputy PM noted that apart from ensuring food security for its people, the region has formed a concentrated zone for the farming of industrial crops with high economic value, including coffee, rubber, pepper, cashew and tea.

Trong, however, pointed to weaknesses and limitations facing the region in the course of socio-economic development, including a unsustainable growth, uneven economic structure shifting, and low foreign investment flow which totalled 1.2 trillion VND and 280 million USD in 110 projects since 2001 to date.

In addition, the Central Highlands’ infrastructure still fails to meet requirements for the region’s development, the quality of human resource and indexes on education, training and vocational training remain low, and poverty continues to plague remote areas.

The Central Highlands boasts a natural land acreage of over 5.4 million ha (which accounts for 16.5 percent of the country’s land) and a population of more than 5 million people.

In addition to an abundant forest resource, the region is endowed with fertile soil, especially red basalt soil that is favourable for growing industrial crops with high economic value, and rich minerals.

The region is home to 47 ethnic groups, who boast diverse and unique cultures with numerous intangible and tangible cultural heritages, including the space of Gong, which has been recognised by the UNESCO as an Oral and Intangible Masterpiece of Humankind./.