Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has urged the Mekong Delta key economic zone to gear up to spearhead development in the whole Mekong Delta region.

Chairing a conference of the Steering Board for the Mekong Delta key economic zone’s development held in Can Tho city on July 21, Deputy PM Hai asked relevant ministries, agencies and localities to pay attention to the expansion of the transportation infrastructure for the zone, particularly highways, coastal roads, railways and water ways.

He also listed a number of tasks for the zone, including development of communal power networks, the application of advanced technologies in agriculture, diminishing the negative impact of climate change and rising sea levels, and dealing with environmental pollution and waste.

He stressed the need to push up training, particularly of skilled workers, and promote trade, investment and tourism for the localities.

The Mekong Delta key economic zone is home to a population of 6.4 million, residing in An Giang, Kien Giang and Ca Mau provinces, and in Can Tho city.

Covering more than 16,600 sq.m. and possessing great potential in agriculture and aquaculture, the zone, over recent years, has recorded high growth rates - an average of 13.57 percent per year in the 2006-2008 period.

In addition to being a centre of education, health care, trade, tourism, and energy, with three large power plants in Can Tho, Ca Mau and Kien Giang, the zone also aims to become a hub for rice and aquatic products by 2020, contributing to the whole region’s exports as well as the provision of breeding and technical services.

The conference set a plan in place to restructure the zone’s economy by 2020, reducing the proportion contributed by the agro-forestry-fishery sector to 15 percent, and raising the role of the industrial, construction and service sectors to between 40-45 percent.

It has also set a target of recording an annual growth rate 1.2 times higher than that of the country as a whole during the 2011-2020 period, and raising the average GDP per capita to 1,200 USD./.