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May 27, 2017

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Poor infrastructure seen as holding back Vietnam's central provinces

Vietnam's Central coastal provinces are, to a certain extent, trapped by underdevelopment and poverty as well as poor infrastructure and economic connections, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told a Central Region Economic Forum on Friday.

"The central coastal region has plenty of potential to boost socio-economic development, but the infrastructure system, including road, airports and sea port, is in poor condition," Phuc said.

"The region could be a key zone for Vietnam by expanding its tourism, marine economy, oil and gas industry and economic zones," he said.

The deputy PM also said poverty in the region was still higher than the country's average rate.

"The number of poor household hit 17 percent of the population," he said. "Twenty five of the 62 districts are still classed as poverty-stricken situation."

Phuc said the region had yet to attract a world-level business or a major international airport or seaport.

Tran du Lich, head of the central region's Development Consultancy Council, said the linking of the provinces in 2011 had led to good achievements in socio-economic development.

"The establishment of a management board for the central provinces ended 500 years of separate development," Lich said.

"Leaders of the nine provinces agreed on overall development of tourism, car building, ship-building, fisheries, logistics, including more connections to the Mekong River and the Central Highlands."

Lich said the region's GDP, about 310 trillion dong (US$15 billion), accounted for only 9.56 percent of the total for Vietnam.

The region has an average of 10 percent growth of GDP, higher than the country's average GDP growth (5.96 percent). However, investment capital for development was just 13.47 percent of the national average, while export turnover was just 3.89 percent.

He said the coastal central region had six airports, 13 seaports, six coastal economic zones, a high-tech park and 14 national roads and rail roads.

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