The 2013 Mekong Delta Economic Cooperation Forum (MDEC 2013) kicked off in Vinh Long province on November 25 with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh in attendance.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Ninh, who is head of the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region, stressed that the forum aims to foster the linkage and investment attraction between the regional localities with other cities and provinces nationwide and abroad.

Through a series of activities at the forum, the business community will see the strong commitment of the 13 localities in the Mekong Delta region to build a stable and attractive investment environment.

The forum, held by the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region from November 25-28, also gives the chance for authorised agencies and businesses to meet, select potential projects and exchange information and policies related to investment to solve existing difficulties.

Through the event, the region hopes to attract investors to 138 key projects worth 21.3 billion USD.

At the opening ceremony, the committee granted investment licences to three projects with the registered capital of 1.144 trillion VND (53.7 million USD) and gave over 719 trillion VND donated by businesses to social welfare activities like building schools, hospitals and roads and presenting scholarships to outstanding students in the region.

The Mekong Delta region comprises of 12 provinces and one centrally-run city with a total area of 40,000 square kilometres and a population of 18 million. It is the largest granary of the country.-VNA