The country’s business and trade hub, Ho Chi Minh City, helped 2,445 ethnic minority households escape from poverty in 2013.

The achievement was announced by the municipal Committee for Ethnic Affairs on January 7 while reviewing its performance in the year.

The committee has spent nearly 3.1 billion VND (146,950 USD) to care for around 8,000 poor ethnic minority households scattering in the city’s 24 inner and outskirt districts.

It has provided free tuition for Cham and Khmer students from kindergarten to high school and offered gifts and scholarships worth 1.2 billion VND (56,400 USD) to poor ethnic minority students and people.

The city spent 520 billion VND (24.7 million USD) to assist local workers, near-poor people and ethnic minorities enjoy the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, which is the country’s largest festive season.

In 2014, it will provide free health insurance for the households with annual income per capita of 16 million VND (760 USD) and cover 75 percent of health insurance for the households with annual income per capita of 21 million VND (995 USD).

In its socio-economic development master plan to 2020 with a vision to 2025, the city aims to become an economic, financial and scientific and technological hub of the country and the region as a whole.

It targets an average economic growth rate of 10-10.5 percent per year during 2011-15 and 9.5-10 percent in the five following years, with GDP per capita reaching 4,970 USD by 2015 and 8,820 USD by 2020.

With an estimated population of 8.2 million in 2015, the city is requested to cut down the number of poor households according to its new criteria to 7-8 percent overall.-VNA