A World Bank-loaned poverty reduction project is targeting to benefit as many as 540,000 needy local people in the Central Highlands and the central coastal area.

The 165 million USD project aims to reinforce food security, improve infrastructure, encourage self-reliance, and create sources of sustainable livelihoods, among others, in poor communes in the Central Highlands provinces of Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Lak, Dak Nong and central coastal Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces, from now to 2019.

Initial outcomes of the project have been the building of specific mechanisms and policies for mountainous provinces with low education level in a bid to ensure the implementation progress.

The local community has been encouraged to involve in planning, organising and overseeing project activities.

At a forum to launch the project in Pleiku, Gia Lai, delegates proposed stepping up communication works to raise local people’s awareness of joining hands in running the project smoothly for joint productive results.

An official from the World Bank affirmed that the financial institution will maintain a close link with the Ministry of Planning and Investment and local project management boards during the implementation course. The WB will send a team to examine the project progress every six months.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dao Quang Thu stated that this is the largest poverty reduction project in the Central Highlands so it is expected to importantly contribute to the country’s socio-economic development.

A similar project is also being implemented in the northern region with the fresh completion of phase I.

Over the past 20 years, the Government has paid special heed to raising the living conditions of ethnic minority people and obtained considerable outcomes.
However, poverty reduction in the Central Highlands has still been speeding slowly. Nearly 74 percent of ethnic minority people in the region are still living below the Government-classified poverty line. The proportion of children stunted and sick is the highest while the primary school enrolment is the lowest in the country.

The Central Highlands region consists of five provinces, namely Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Lak, Dak Nong and Lam Dong. It has a total population of 6.5 million, 45 percent of whom are ethnic minority people.-VNA