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Northern Midlands and Mountains not yet attractive to foreign capital

VIETNAM, February 20 - HÀ NỘI — Although considered a region with many advantages, the Northern Midlands and Mountains are still not attractive to foreign investors.

Data from the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) shows that the Northern Midlands and Mountainous provinces have attracted about 1,240 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects as of the end of last year, with a total registered capital of nearly US$29 billion.

With this result, the Northern Midlands and Mountains ranked fifth out of six economic regions of the country in terms of foreign investment attractiveness, accounting for only 3.4 per cent of the total number of projects and 6.2 per cent of total FDI capital invested in Việt Nam.

Economic experts said the Northern Midlands and Mountains were not attractive to foreign investment because this was a difficult area of the country with a high household poverty rate and asynchronous infrastructure development.

The number of businesses operating in the region is also low compared to the national average, and the majority are small or micro businesses.

Although it has not made much impression on foreign investors, some forecasts say that the opportunity for provinces in the Northern Midlands and Mountains to attract FDI is very high this year and the following years.

Localities in the region that have recently emerged as attractive destinations for foreign investment include Bắc Giang, Phú Thọ and Thái Nguyên.

Among them, Bắc Giang attracted nearly US$1 billion of FDI capital last year, ranking fourth in the country in attracting FDI.

It attracted about $200 million last month, ranking in the top three attractive localities for foreign investment in Việt Nam, after Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu and the capital Hà Nội.

In particular, to plan a long-term development strategy for the region, the Politburo issued Resolution 11-NQ/TW on socio-economic development, ensuring national defence and security in the Northern Midlands and Mountains to 2030, vision to 2045.

The Government issued Resolution 96/NQ-CP on the Action Programme to implement Resolution 11-NQ/TW of the Politburo.

In order to continue to realise the perspectives, goals and orientations for regional development set out in the Resolution, and concretise national plans for 2021 – 2030, with vision to 2050, the Prime Minister assigned the MPI to preside over and co-ordinate with ministries, branches and localities in the region and relevant agencies and organisations to organise the planning of the Northern Midlands and Mountainous region during the 2021 - 2030 period, vision to 2050, according to the provisions of the Planning Law.

Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Chí Dũng, Permanent Vice Chairman of the Northern Midlands and Mountainous Region Co-ordination Council, affirmed that planning for this region was important, helping to "pave the way" and proactively create development, with new thinking and vision to create new opportunities, development motivation and values for the region, remove bottlenecks in development and set out goals, development plans and solutions for implementation.

The Northern Midlands and Mountains include 14 provinces and cities: Bắc Giang, Thái Nguyên, Phú Thọ, Hòa Bình, Lào Cai, Yên Bái, Lạng Sơn, Tuyên Quang, Sơn La, Bắc Kạn, Cao Bằng, Hà Giang, Điện Biên and Lai Châu. — VNS