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Last updated: Thursday, December 13, 2018


Asserting Leadership in Mekong Delta

Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2017

More than 10 years after becoming a centrally-governed city in 2004, Can Tho has gradually affirmed its economic leadership and centrality in the Mekong Delta thanks to impressive socioeconomic achievements. In an interview given to Vietnam Business Forum, Mr Tran Quoc Trung, Secretary of the Can Tho Party Committee, emphasised, “This is a solid foundation and motivation to drive the Party, the government and the people to make a greater effort to turn Can Tho into a civilised, modern city and become a basically industrialised city by 2020; and make Can Tho people smart, dynamic, chaste, chivalrous and elegant based on traditional standards and values of the nation and the Mekong Delta.” Hoang Lam reports.

Could you introduce more specifically the achievements of Can Tho City in more than 10 years of being a centrally-governed city?
In more than 10 years as a centrally governed city, Can Tho has maintained a high economic growth rate and its economic structure has been shifted to a positive pattern: Service - industry - high-tech agriculture in a descending order. The economic quality and competitiveness has gradually improved. In 2016, the city’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) valued VND61,441 billion, an increase of 4.52 times over 2004; GRDP per capita reached VND65.3 million, an increase of 8.28 times; and State budget revenue amounted to VND14,765 billion, a 9.57-time growth. Can Tho City’s leadership in the Mekong Delta has been shown in many aspects such as trade, transportation, finance - banking, information and communication, education - training, and healthcare.

The city's industrial development has been driven by priority industries, high value-added products and high-tech products. The industrial production value grossed VND112,693 billion in 2016, representing an expansion of 5.42 times over 2004 (VND20,780 billion). At present, its industrial production is second in the region after Long An province, accounting for about 17 per cent of the region's production value. Commercial activity has developed strongly, with retail value reaching VND91,887 billion in 2016, an expansion of 11.07 times against 2004 (VND8,344 billion). The city’s exports have reached nearly 100 countries and territories in the world. Tourist arrivals have increased year after year, with tourism revenue climbing to VND1,800 billion in 2016, up 10.5 times over 2004. Agricultural production has been mechanised and modernised by advanced technology. Currently, the city has 14 registered rice brands.

As for investment attraction, the city had 74 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with a total registered capital of US$649 million as of September 2017, compared with 33 projects and US$401 million in 2005. The city’s total fund for development investment was VND273,248 billion in 2004 - 2015, with an average annual growth of 23 per cent. The value in 2015 was VND40,021 billion, an increase of 9.8 folds over 2004 (VND4,089 billion). The city has actively coordinated with ministries and central agencies to carry out important projects such as Can Tho Bridge, Can Tho International Airport (expanded and upgraded), Cai Cui Port, Nam Song Hau Road, National Highway 91B, Bon Tong - Mot Ngan Road, Vi Thanh - Can Tho Road, National Highway 91 (expanded and upgraded), National Highway 1 (expanded in Can Tho - Phung Hiep section) and passageway widening project to allow big oceangoing ships access into the Hau River.

Other important ongoing projects include Vam Cong Bridge (expected to be completed in 2017), Lo Te - Rach Soi Road (expected for completion in 2018), Can Tho University (upgraded into a key national university), technical and technological application centre (upgraded), biological laboratory construction and upgrading, and Can Tho Port complex (expanded and upgraded). These projects are important for socioeconomic development of Can Tho City and the Mekong Delta.

The city has also achieved social and cultural progress, better and bigger education and quality education and training, better healthcare, inclusive human development, and better livelihoods for the people. Political security, social order and safety are maintained and stabilised.

According to economists, to fully tap its potential, Can Tho City needs central support like specific policies on finance, budget, high-tech agricultural development. What do you think about this?
Located at the heart of the Mekong Delta, Can Tho City plays an important role in socio-economic development and has a strong ripple effect on regional development. However, the city had a low starting point and limited resources, resulting in asynchronous technical infrastructure. In spite of being a first-grade urban area administered by the central government, Can Tho City’s urbanisation was slower than its peers like Hai Phong and Da Nang.

In the coming years, Can Tho City needs to build more urban areas, develop economic space and many important regional projects. Therefore, the city needs specific policies and regimes provided by the Government of Vietnam on investment, finance, budget and administrative decentralisation to promote its centrality in the Mekong Delta.

Construction and development of a smart city is a new trend in big cities in the world, as this brings higher economic performance and more practical benefits for the people. Can Tho is one of five centrally governed big cities in the country. What solutions will the city adopt to realise the goal of becoming a smart city in the near future?
Smart city construction is a totally new field, which requires thorough research and bases on central policies on smart city development. To implement the smart city construction roadmap, Can Tho needs a unified direction in the City Party Executive Committee and the Standing Committee of the City Party Committee according to the Resolution of the 13th City Party Congress (2015 - 2020 term) and Resolution 45-NQ/TW of the Politburo on city development. At the same time, it must be in line with general development trend and local conditions, having solid steps, concrete roadmaps, balanced resources and investment priorities. The city must mobilise all available resources, internally and externally, to achieve the highest efficiency in building and developing smart and modern city.

To build and develop smart Can Tho City, the Standing Committee of the City Party Committee issued Resolution 10-NQ/TU dated April 11, 2017 on building Can Tho into a smart city in 2016 - 2025. The resolution stated major solutions: Strengthening communications on smart city development, creating agreement in viewpoints and contents of execution; building a pro-people government; promoting information technology application and development, building a complete master model for e-government architecture - an underlying foundation for smart city development; speeding up scientific and technological application; managing its planning execution; developing traffic infrastructure; building regimes and policies on investment attraction for smart investment development; developing modern and smart agriculture; enhancing political security, social order and safety to lay the foundation for socioeconomic development in the coming time.

What are the major objectives of Can Tho City in the 2015 - 2020 term and what do you expect for the outcome?
The City Party Committee (2015 - 2020 term) is projected to attain a higher economic growth rate than in the 2010 - 2015 term; build and developing a more civilised and modern city; closely combine economic development with social progress and equality, ensure social welfare and raising people’s living quality; assure firm political security, social order and safety; promote democracy, maintaining discipline, strengthen unity and consensus in the Party and intensifying great national unity; enhance leadership and combativeness of the entire Party, build and develop a civilised and modern city with a central role in the Mekong Delta.

Upholding important achievements in the 2010 - 2015 term and results achieved after nearly two years of carrying out the Resolution of the City Party Congress (2015 - 2020 term) together with the great unity and high consensus of the Party, the business community and people, I am confident that Can Tho City will successfully achieve all tasks and objectives set for the term.

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