The Mekong Delta Business Forum was held on April 8 in Can Tho, organised by the Dutch diplomatic mission in Vietnam, in collaboration with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Dutch Business Association Vietnam (DBAV). It provided an opportunity for Vietnamese and Dutch businesses to discuss and expand their operations.
|Representatives speaking at the conference |
According to Dutch Ambassador Elsbeth Akkerman, the private sector is the driver for change, thus businesses need to take the lead to achieve sustainable development goals.
"The private sector must move faster, be more active, and pioneer sustainable development in the Mekong Delta," said the ambassador.
Other main topics of discussion were innovative solutions based on Dutch experience in the water, agricultural, and logistics sectors through various partnership mechanisms, including the business platform Sustainable Mekong Delta.
The Netherlands has invested up to $50 million from public and private funds in initiatives in the Mekong Delta. “There is a possibility for much more as we are a trusted and long-lasting partner of Vietnam for water management, agricultural development, and climate adaptation,” Akkerman added.
The Dutch experts from Royal Haskoning DHV have worked closely with the Ministry of Planning and Investment to develop a master plan for the Mekong Delta. On February 28, the government approved the Mekong Delta Integrated Regional Master Plan – the first of its kind.
Akkerman concluded, “The economic, ecological, and societal importance of the Mekong Delta is undisputed. It is in the hearts and minds of many in the country and internationally. We share the same goal to ensure the delta is future proof and resilient. This requires a nature-based, cross-sectoral, and integrated approach. We trust the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement can give businesses an extra boost. The Netherlands is eager to form strategic partnerships on water, climate change, sustainable agriculture, and food security via our strategic cooperation with VCCI and the DBAV.”
As a small country with highly innovative sectors and the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products, the Netherlands is Vietnam’s second-largest European trade partner and is keen on cooperating with all stakeholders to develop an inclusive and sustainable economy for the country's Mekong Delta region.