Annual Economic Report Mekong Delta 2020: Enhancing Competitiveness for Sustainable Development
January 22, 2021

Annual Economic Report Mekong Delta 2020: Enhancing Competitiveness for Sustainable Development

January 22, 2021

The Annual Mekong Delta Economic Report (hereinafter referred to as the Report) was conducted for the first time by a group of Vietnam's leading economists and policy experts under the leadership and coordination of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and intellectual leadership of the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (FSPPM), Fulbright University Vietnam. This is the first research report on an economic region in the country, and the Mekong Delta was selected as a typical case of cohesion and consistency to develop an institution of economic region in the future.

Over the past decade, the Mekong Delta has been facing major external challenges from climate change such as saltwater, drought, erosion, inundation, and increasing environmental pollution as well as internal problems, including the decline in growth quality, low business competitiveness, unstable economic structure, inadequate quality of human resources, low labor productivity, and growing migration. All these issues place direct impacts on the socio-economic development that the Mekong Delta is and will be confronting. Meanwhile, the common wisdom on the Mekong Delta is always associated with such phrases as richness, advantageous resources, favorable nature and abundant labor, though the regional development over the past two decades has shown that it is not the case. Furthermore, despite investment in infrastructure, there are still too many points of congestion, especially in transportation connectivity. Lack of well-aligned planning and poor logistics also lead to cost increase in all stages of the production value chain, reducing the competitiveness of businesses and regional economy.

As regards social development, the quality of education has not kept pace with other regions, which is indicated by a high dropout rate and low education level. The Southwestern provinces' advantages such as the terrain, soil and moderate climate are no longer in place due to impacts by natural disasters and people. Other strengths previously built through efforts in reform and improvements of local economic governance are now eroding compared to other economic regions. The above challenges and limitations are driving the Delta into a conundrum that needs an in-depth and comprehensive study to address.

Expecting a new stage of development for the current regional economy, VCCI and FSPPM collaborated to conduct the Mekong Delta Economic Report. After a year's planning, the Editorial Board was formed and the theme of "Competitiveness Enhancement for Sustainable Development" was selected to be the focal point and driver for the Mekong Delta economic development in the coming years. It is unacceptable that an economic region with great potentials and contributions like the Mekong Delta is as fragmented and short of development motivation as ever. Leading economic experts in institution building, policies, economics, planning, environment and transportation were invited to jointly undertake the research report with full heartfelt energy.

The Report summarizes the regional achievements of the past decade, highlights limitations in the development process, and outlines the opportunities and challenges that are and will be facing the Mekong Delta.

Free download: HERE

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