There have had marked changes in the social-economic development and quality of life for residents in the western border areas of the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, according to Le Khac Chi, Vice Chairman of the province’s People’s Committee.

These changes are the result of effective implementation of the ‘Building a peaceful and friendly border to contribute to the socio-economic development and cementing defence-security in the region from 2006-2014’ project, also known as project 25.

With a 56.8 kilometre border shared with Cambodia and two important economic border gates, Ha Tien and Giang Thanh, a peaceful and friendly border is vital for socio-economic development in the province’s border region.

Kien Giang implemented project 25 in 2006, and since then the region has achieved an average economic growth rate of 17 percent, 2 percent above the project’s target.

The completion of dozens of infrastructure projects also created favourable conditions for locals to promote production and improve their income.

According to Chung Thi Ngoc, Vice Chairwoman of the Ha Tien town’s Women’s Union, the town only has 131 poor households (1.1 percent) and the average income per capita in 2014 is close to 55 million VND (2,575 USD).

Regarding sovereignty and border markers, the province has continually focused on educating residents on protecting border markers, ensuring order and security, and remaining alert to any threats.

Ngo Hoang Thuong, Chairman of the My Duc commune’s People’s Committee, said the commune makes a significant effort to keep locals regularly informed of the Party and State’s policies on border issues and initiatives to counter crime, smuggling, and the trafficking of women and children.

Religious policies were implemented and favourable conditions were created for those living in border areas to conduct business and exchange visits.

Tran Kieu Nha, a resident of Thach Dong hamlet, My Duc commune, Ha Tien town, said women in the hamlet are consistently on alert for suspicious behaviour or visitors and keeps local authorities and border guards informed.

Kien Giang has thus far completed the planting of 22 out of 28 border markers, including marker No 314, the final land designation on the border between Vietnam and Cambodia.

The province said it would extend project 25 through 2020 with an average growth rate of 18 percent and completing the planting of border markers in 2017 as primary project goals.

The province also asked the Ha Tien border guards and Giang Thanh district authorities to increase the external activities and foster mutually beneficial cross-border cooperation and tourism.

Socio-economic development plans in border areas will be reviewed and revised to ensure sustainable and long-term development.-VNA