by Le Hung Vong
QUANG TRI — Donor representatives focused their discussions on poverty reduction and natural disaster mitigation in central Viet Nam during the mid – term Consultative Group Meeting that opened in Quang Tri Province's Dong Ha City yesterday.
|DeputyPrime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and World Bank country director Victoria Kwakwa at the mid-term Consultative Group Meeting in the central province of Quang Tri yesterday. - VNA/VNS Photo Ho Cau
Addressing the opening session, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said the Central was the most populous region in the country with nearly 19 million people, accounting for 21.9 per cent of the national population. However, Deputy
the scale of its economy was small, ranked fourth nationwide.
The region's growth rate remained low at about 5.9 per cent during the 2006 – 10 period, less than the country's average growth rate of 6.8 per cent over the same period.
Per capita income in the region was only VND14.7 million (US$700)in 2010, equalling 66.3 per cent of the national average level, Hai said.
The rate of poor households in the Central region was much higher than the average national rate at 20.4 per cent versus 14.2 per cent in 2010.
"The Central region, particularly the North Central area, is still considered one of the poorest regions, only behind the northwest mountainous region and the Central Highlands, which comprises 25 out of the 62 poorest districts nationwide," Hai said.
The Government has taken measures to improve the living standards of poor people in the region and to narrow the gaps between households in each province and among provinces in the region.
Hai said efforts had been made to lower the rate of poor households in the region to under 10 per cent in the coming years.
In the past years, central provinces have received assistance and support from donors and international organisations for their programmes on poverty reduction, infrastructure development and prevention and mitigation of natural disasters to promote sustainable development, which has contributed to socio-economic progress in the region.
Hai said support was highly appreciated, expressing his wish that donors would continue assisting sustainable poverty reduction programmes.
He also pledged to use assistance and donations in an effective and transparent manner.
"The meeting is an excellent opportunity for the Vietnamese Government and donors to discuss ways of boosting socio-economic development, reducing poverty and mitigating natural disasters in the central region, which boasts a great deal of potential, but also faces a lot of difficulties," Hai said.
According to figures from the 2012 Poverty Assessment by Valerie Kozei from the World Bank in Ha Noi (released at the CG meeting), Viet Nam has made remarkable progress in poverty alleviation with poverty having fallen from 58 per cent in 1993 to under 10 per cent in 2010.
However, the task of poverty reduction has not yet finished in Viet Nam as vulnerability remained high, much churning around the poverty line and high exposure to shocks (weather, health, economy).
"This meeting, attended by representatives of 14 central provinces stretching from Thanh Hoa to Ninh Thuan, offers an opportunity for donors and Government agencies to discuss and exchange views with provincial authorities on socio-economic development, sustainable poverty reduction and disaster mitigation," said Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh in his speech.
He added that the meeting aimed to identify major issues affecting the implementation of policies and guidelines of the Government on poverty reduction and disaster mitigation, to propose additional recommendations in provinces, and proposals for improving coordination, integration and effective implementation of donor and NGO assistance.
Closing the conference, Victoria Kwakwa, Country Director for the World Bank in Viet Nam and Co-Chair of the CG, thanked the Government and development partners for the productive dialogue, and affirmed the community's determination to support Viet Nam's development. — VNS