A total of 120 projects calling for an estimated 100 trillion VND (5.6 billion USD) in investment will be put forth at a forum slated for Sept. 5 in Buon Ma Thuot city, in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak .

Lam Dong province alone accounts for 85 percent of the total sum needed for projects in infrastructure construction, tourism, industry, agro-forestry, health and education-training, Tran Viet Hung, deputy head of the forum on investment promotion’s steering committee, told a press conference in Hanoi on Aug. 12. Infrastructure receives 63 percent of the province’s total investment.

The national-level forum on investment promotion in the Central Highlands is jointly organised by the Central Highlands Steering Committee, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the people’s committees of the five central highlands provinces--Lam Dong, Dak Lak, Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Dak Nong--with the sponsorship of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).

Themed “ Central Highlands – Awakening potential”, the forum will highlight the region’s strengths and potential, as well as its investment incentives. It will brief investors the on the BIDV’s policies, creating opportunities for businesses involved in socio-economic development, investment and construction in the regional provinces.

In addition to those from ministries, agencies and domestic businesses, the forum is expected to draw representatives from six provinces in Cambodia and Laos located in the “Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam development triangle”.

Representatives of foreign embassies and financing institutions in Vietnam , like the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and foreign businesses will also attend.

On the occasion, they will call for more support for social welfare activities in the Central Highlands, which will focus on housing for the poor. By the end of last year, there were more than 40,000 poor households, of which 72 percent were ethnic minority households, needing help with housing in the Central Highlands .

With its strategic position in terms of economics, security and national defence, the Central Highlands has the potential to develop industry, tourism and agri-forestry product processing. In recent years, the region’s average GDP growth has doubled that of the country as a whole.

Although investment incentive policies have been issued and administrative procedures have been reformed by the Government and the provinces themselves, investment in the region, particularly foreign direct investment (FDI), is still low, due to restrictions caused by poor infrastructure and inconvenient transport.

By the end of July, the five Central Highlands provinces had 133 valid FDI projects with a total registered capital of 726.7 million USD. Of the five provinces, Lam Dong took the lead with 114 projects capitalised at nearly 542.5 million USD./.