Together with other countries in the Mekong Sub-region, Vietnam has exerted efforts to ensure the region’s sustainable development, fostering economic cooperation among sub-regional countries as well as between them and other partners.

According to Vu Van Trung, Deputy Head of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnam has so far directly invested in 335 projects in Mekong Sub-region countries with total registered capital of about 7 billion USD, accounting for 50 percent of the country’s total projects and investment abroad.

Vietnam has implemented 222 projects in Laos with total registered capital of 3.9 billion USD, making it the third largest foreign investor in the country, he noted.

Vietnam-funded projects have laid the foundations for the development of industrial sectors in Laos and Cambodia in the future, including rubber, sugar and micro-organic fertiliser production, hydropower and minerals, he said.

The projects have created jobs and improved workers’ skills in the two neighbouring countries, while improving local people’s incomes and contributing to the state budgets of the countries, Trung added.

During the implementation of the projects, Vietnamese businesses have actively joined social activities in the host countries, investing largely in building schools, healthcare centres, roads, houses and other social welfare activities, said Trung.

He pointed out that Vietnam-funded projects to plant industrial trees have significantly boosted socio-economic development in Laos and Cambodia , contributing to improving the environment as well as living conditions for local people, changing cultivation customs in remote and mountainous areas in these countries.

Hoang Anh-Gia Lai Group has invested 40 million USD in the Lao province of Attapeu ’s social welfare programme, upgrading its infrastructure system, including a bridge, roads, local government headquarters, hotels, hospitals and houses for the poor. These have greatly changed the face of one of the poorest localities in Laos , he said.

In addition, the military-run Viettel Group has made contributions to market development in Laos and Cambodia. The company has created jobs and stable incomes for more than 25,000 workers in Cambodia and nearly 20,000 in Laos.

During the recent 2nd Mekong Resources Forum, participants agreed that in order to further promote investment, trade and tourism activities in the sub-region in a sustainable way, the involved sides should work closer to outline and implement joint programmes and plans to attract more investment and effectively make use of aid from international organisations.

They agreed that all countries in the region should raise a common voice in regional matters like the use of natural resources for socio-economic development, the effective protection of the environment and sustainable development.-VNA