Can Tho City: Affirming Vital Position in Mekong Delta

8:55:17 PM | 8/11/2011

Can Tho City is located at the centre of the Mekong Delta west of the Hau River, on an important waterway-road traffic axis connecting Can Tho with provinces of the Mekong Delta, Southern Delta and other regions of the country. Together with dynamic growth of the Mekong Delta, Can Tho City has made outstanding breakthroughs to affirm its position and reach high economic growth rates.
Upholding a key role
April 19, 2009, the Prime Minister signed Decision No 492/QD-TTg establishing the Mekong Delta key economic region including 4 central provinces and cities: Can Tho, An Giang, Kien Giang and Ca Mau, to take full advantage of the geographic position and other comparative advantages of the region, step by step building the Mekong Delta key economic region’s strength in rice production and aquaculture. In which, Can Tho City pushes the development of the whole Mekong Delta area.
Geographically, Can Tho is an important traffic intersection of the whole Mekong Delta. Specifically,Can Tho has 117 km National Road crossing National Road 1A, National Road 80, 91, 91B; Ho Chi Minh City-Trung Luong expressway (in operation); Trung Luong – My Thuan expressway (under construction), Can Tho Bridge (in operation). The waterway traffic network is a strength of the Mekong Delta and of Can Tho City in particular, with the Can Tho and Hau River systems making it a trade hub for the whole area. In addition, Can Tho International Airport (Tra Noc Airport) is continuously upgraded with a 2,400 meter runway, allowing modern airplanes to take off and land safely.
Especially, Can Tho is establishing socio-economic bodies with central roles in the Mekong Delta including financial centres, training centres and cultural-service centres. With 3 universities, (15,000 students), 2 colleges, 4 professional high schools and 4 vocational schools, Can Tho is now becoming a training and vocational centre of the Mekong Delta. At the same time, Can Tho is building southwest cultural centre in Cai Rang District, adjacent to Ninh Kieu District, contributing to the establishment of cultural-service centres for the whole area.
In the spirit of making the best of available potential and advantages, in the 35 years since national unification, Can Tho has achieved high economic growth over many consecutive years. Annual GDP growth reached 15.12 percent on average (2006-2010), an increase of 8.08 times compared to the period of 1976-1985, 4.60 times compared to 1986-1990, 0.93 times compared to 1991-1995, 4.79 times compared to 1996-2000 and 1.66 times compared to 2001-2005. Economic structure shifts to favour service and industry, agriculture has an increasing proportion of seafood; industry – construction increases the proportion of agri-product and seafood processing, chemical, building materials, textiles and consumer products; and trade-service increases the proportion of trade, transportation services, finance-credit, real estate, telecommunication and tourism. Income per capita enjoys an average increase of 14.4 percent, to VND 36.82 million (equivalent to US$1,950). Industry and construction also enjoy high growth, while the trade and service sector show strong development in scale, market and operation effectiveness. Mobilization of social capital sources for development and investment is also increasing, total investment capital in the province reaches over VND 85,062 billion, 4.5 times higher than in 2001-2005. Together with the above achievements, many city and central projects at Can Tho are put into operation such as Can Tho International Airport, Can Tho bridge, Cai Cui sea port, logistics service areas, Southern Hau River Road, O Mon thermo-electric Centre (3,000MW), university system, etc. These help Can Tho be confident of continued investment flow into every economic sector, creating a new driving force for development.
Since becoming a central-governed city, the rate and quality of economic growth in Can Tho continues to improve. Can Tho City is confident of its role in business fields, pushing socio-economic development, national defence and security for the whole Mekong Delta. Urban architecture has resulted in good achievements; the face of the central-governed city has been gradually established. In 2009, Can Tho was recognized as a Grade I city. Many new urban areas, resettlement areas, trade and service centres are growing at districts, especially in Ninh Kieu, Cai Rang and Binh Thuy. Education, training, science, technology and health care enjoy outstanding results. Infrastructure works such as kindergartens, primary schools, vocational training schools, hospitals, clinics and cultural-sports centres also receive special attention. Besides, Can Tho also puts strong emphasis on doing a good job in social policies, creating jobs, mobilizing the whole society to take part in supporting ethnic minorities and the poor with practical actions: building house of gratitude, offering free health check-ups, etc. In this way, local living standards are much improved. With ceaseless efforts, Can Tho is gradually affirming its role as development driving – force, pushing the development process of the Mekong Delta, making important contribution to the process of national modernization and industrialization.
In 2011-2015, Can Tho strives for fast and stable economic growth focusing on industry-trade, service, effective and high-tech agriculture, improving quality and effectiveness of city construction and development; meeting the criteria of central governed & Grade I city; making Can Tho a modern, civilized city and a centre of the Mekong Delta. Can Tho strives for an average growth rate of at least 16 percent; per capita income reaches VND 71-72 million in 2015; total good and service quotas reach to US$ 7,250 –7,300 million, an averaging increase of 17 percent; total budget increases 15.5 percent -18 percent on average; total investment capital achieves VND 200,000 –220,000 billion in 2011- 2015; creating jobs for 250,000 – 275,000 local people; reducing poverty rate by 1 percent/year; 100 percent of wards & communes have motorway access. By 2015, the trained labour rate will reach 65 percent, 50 percent vocational training; supplying clean water and electricity to urban areas; supplying hygienic water to rural areas; solving the issue of accommodation for 100 percent poor households and 40 percent for low income people.
A focal investment point of the Mekong Delta
Since becoming a central governed city in 2004, Can Tho has applied many open one-door policies, simple administrative procedures, creating favourable conditions for individuals and enterprises; decentralizing management. For investment projects in industrial parks, industrial– small scale industry centres, Can Tho City’s specialized units are responsible for constructing infrastructure. For other investment projects outside, depending on the project, specialized units will build technical infrastructures. For tourism projects, depending on specific conditions of the project, Can Tho People’s Committee will consider and decide the rate of investment assistance from the budget. In addition, Can Tho City has some supporting policies for vocational training and advertising costs.
Thanks to these policies, Can Tho City has become a bright destination for investment in the Mekong Delta. In 2009, there were about 40 investment projects (36 enterprises) with a total area of 821.8 hectares. In terms of foreign investment cooperation, Can Tho issued 7 certificates of investment for 7 projects with total registered capital of US$ 13.5 million. Till the end of 2009, there were about 49 foreign owned projects in Can Tho with total capital of US$ 752.8 million. In the first 9 months of 2010, there were about 50 FDI projects, approximately 126 branches, and representative offices of foreign enterprises in the city.
With a commitment to create favourable conditions for investors, Can Tho has worked out some solutions to strengthen foreign investment attraction such as economic development, investment promotion, production and trade development, competition improvement; investment solutions; banking-finance solutions; cooperation solutions; training; science and technology; environment protection. In parallel, Can Tho is focusing on constructing socio-economic infrastructure, completing key projects, pushing administrative reform, effectively implementing investment policies; creating favourable conditions for economic components, strengthening training activities to meet demands of the city and of enterprises.
Projects completed and put into operation include Tra Noc Airport, Can Tho Bridge, Cai Cui Port and National Road 91B. Can Tho has been focusing on infrastructure; calling for foreign investment cooperation. On February 3, 2010, Can Tho started construction of Quang Trung-Cai Cui Road expansion project at Southern Can Tho urban area. Cai Cui port is now put into operation (phase 1), phase 2 and logistics zone will be continuously invested to make it the largest sea port in the Mekong Delta.
In order to promote Can Tho’s image, the city has received special attention and assistance from the Government through accompanying State and Government delegates on overseas business trips to expand cooperation relationships as well as to promote investment. Specifically, in the first 6 months of 2010, a mission of 15 members including representatives of the Foreign Investment Agency, Ministry of Planning & Investment, relevant leaders and officers together with enterprises in Can Tho, Soc Trang, Kien Giang and Ca Mau, took a trip to Australia for market survey and to promote agriculture cooperation and food processing. The trip was very successful. This is a good opportunity for leaders and enterprises to approach high-tech agriculture, to share experience and to create cooperation relationships with investors in Australia.
February 17, 2005, the Ministry of Politics issued Resolution No 45-NQ/TW with the direction and mission to make Can Tho City a national level, modern and green plain city – a gateway of the Lower Mekong River, a centre for industry-trade-service-tourism-education-culture-science and technology of the Mekong Delta and of the whole country.
In 2010-2015, Can Tho has 66 prioritized investment projects, of which 20 projects are under Central control. The city is focusing on constructing socio-economic infrastructure, especially traffic infrastructure, planning industrial groups and centres under districts to attract small and medium enterprises. For concentrated industrial parks under the City, Can Tho will call for infrastructure investment. At the moment, Can Tho has planned 6 industrial groups, of which 4 are planned in detail; industrial groups will play the role of satellite for industrial parks.
In addition, Can Tho will actively improve business investment, simplifying administrative procedures, raising awareness of officers, offering solutions to perfect the investment environment and improve provincial competitiveness. Can Tho City will also work out policies strong enough to create capital and to attract investment.
With a philosophy of “accompanying investors”, Can Tho City’s government will be always open, friendly and ready to welcome and create favourable conditions and opportunities for investors. The success of investors will be the prosperity and development of the city.