Experts gathered at a conference in Can Tho city on August 13 to explore measures needed to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) to the Mekong Delta.

They cited poor infrastructure, inadequate labour skills and low productivity as the main reasons behind the regional limitation to draw in foreign investors.

They held that the geographical distance between the region and seaports and national economic centres such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City also made it difficult to persuade overseas businesses to invest.

In addition, Can Tho, the centre of the region, dropped to 38th place in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (CPI) rankings for 2011.

VCCI Can Tho Chairman Vo Hung Dung told the conference that to see a reverse in fortunes, the Mekong Delta must improve its infrastructure system and investment environment while increasing labour productivity.

He stressed that attracting FDI is not just a matter of advertising the region’s large agricultural sector but the region should mobilise scientific and technological resources and further improve investment promotion.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Promotion Department, the Mekong Delta attracted a total of 575 FDI projects worth over 10.7 billion USD from 1988 to 2012, making up a mere 5.16 percent of the country’s total FDI.-VNA