The Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region aims to see an economic growth rate of 9.4 percent and an export value of 13.6 billion USD in the region in 2015, up 8.98 percent and 12.3 billion USD, respectively, against 2014.

The figures were heard at a December 24 conference in Can Tho city reviewing achievements the region has made in 2014 and orientations for 2015.

Southwestern localities are expected to draw 262 trillion VND (12.47 billion USD) in investment and reduce the poverty rate to 4.5 percent next year.

Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh, who is head of the steering committee, urged the localities to focus on restructuring the agricultural sector in combination with building new-style rural areas.

He also asked them to work closely with ministries and sectors to successfully implement their political tasks in the coming year.

Ministries, sectors and regional localities should promptly make a list of priority infrastructure projects to be submitted to the Government, complete regulations on Mekong Delta regional linkage and implement programmes on socio-economic development, climate change response, education, religion and security, among others.

Participants discussed ways to lure investment in infrastructure, support production and export, and maintain defence and security in border areas.

In 2014, the Southwestern Region’s economy was estimated to grow 8.98 percent, 1.5 times higher than the country’s average. Its industrial production increased 11.9 percent and export turnover reached 12.3 billion USD, up 15.87 percent year-on-year.

The region produced 25 million tonnes of rice, about 500,000 tonnes higher than last year’s volume.-VNA