Can Tho hosted an online dialogue on the Government website on Apr.22 to review the implementation of the Politburo's Resolution 21 on socio-economic development and security defence of the Mekong Delta River in the last 10 years.

Bui Ngoc Suong, Deputy Head of the Southwest Steering Committee, said that infrastructure construction and improvement were the most important achievements of the past ten years.

Capital investment focused on traffic, irrigation, education and training, health care and social security. The regional growth reached about 12 percent with the GDP increasing 3.5 times and per capita income increasing 2.5 times annually.

In terms of agriculture, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said the State invested more than 15 trillion VND(720 million USD) to complete 73 canal and dam construction projects to increase water supply and prevent salt intrusion in the Mekong Delta region.

Thus, rice production has increased by more six million tonnes and fruit production by one million tonnes. In particular, aquaculture production soared by 2.5 times. This is a remarkable growth of the region, he said.

In terms of education and training, Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan said the Government allocated 2.6 trillion VND(124 million USD) to school building to replace temporary classes between 2008-10.

Currently, there are 12 universities and 27 colleges in the Mekong Delta. All 13 cities and provinces in the region completed primary education universalisation in 2008.

Vice Minister of Transport Ngo Thinh Duc said the Mekong Delta finished the construction of bridges on Highway No1 and upgraded 27,000 km of road with the total investment of 75 trillion VND (3.6 billion USD).

Water transport, which is an advantage in the region, has greatly been improved, and Cai Cui Port is under construction, he said.

Can Tho Airport has also been completed to receive large aircraft.

Chairman of Can Tho City People's Committee Nguyen Thanh Son agreed on infrastructure achievements, adding that the OMon thermal power centre has been put into operation.

Son said the city’s economy has been growing at 14.3 percent each year, with per capita income reaching about 50 million VND (2,400 USD) in 2011. The investment in human resource training greatly impacted the city development, he noted..

Suong suggested that the scheme of regional links, investment links and links on capital investment allocation should be carried out for socio-economic development. .

Son said separate provincial development programmes by local leaders showed many shortcomings, including the massive building of sugar and cement plants. To achieve regional links, local leaders must change their thinking and vision to promote local advantages and regional sustainable development.

Phat agreed, saying it is necessary to promote the advantages and strengths of the region and each locality. The Mekong River Delta is one of the focus areas for leading rice cultivation. The catfish farming here is very productive and the region has many delicious fruits compared to other localities throughout the country. These advantages should be the focus.

In terms of agricultural development, he said, science and technology transfer should be carried out to further increase the production of rice, aquaculture and tropical fruits.

Participants agreed that in the next 10 years, connections between HCM City , the Southwest region and the regional Phu Quoc Airport must be completed.

A report of the Southwest Steering Committee sent to the Politburo showed that the region targets an increase in growth of two digits in the period of 2011-15. The growth rate of the 2011-15 would be 11-12 percent, and 12-13 percent in the period of 2016-20 with the economy properly restructured and per capita income reaching 50 million VND (2,400 USD) by 2020.-VNA