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Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie pays a coutersy call on Can Tho city leaders

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Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie pays a courtesy call and has a working session with Can Tho city leaders. Chairman of the City  People's Committee Tran Viet Truong and representatives of related departments and agencies warmly welcome the Ambassador and her delegation.

As this is the Ambassador's first visit to Can Tho City, on behalf of the city leaders, Chairman Tran Viet Truong briefs the basic local information for Ms. Mudie, and highlights that Can Tho is the economic, education, healthcare, cultural, politics, and social center of the Mekong Delta. The city's export strength includes agricultural products, namely rice, fruits and shrimp. In recent years, Can Tho City has received a lot of support through Australian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City through Direct Aid Program (DAP) to build bridges and provide clean water supply for rural areas. Chairman of the City People's Committee highly values these efforts from the Australian Embassy and Consulate General, and regards these programs and projects as a strategy to narrow the gap between urban and rural areas and contributes to the socio-economic development of the city at the same time.

The Chairman also expresses his expectation to receive more cooperation and support from Australian government in terms of attracting FDI, developing infrastructure and logistics, adapting to climate change, as well as creating more opportunities for local students and officials to study in Australia to enhance their language skills and professional competencies. According to the Ambassador, there are more than 25.000 Vietnamese students studying in Australia and about 70 Australian alumni from Can Tho City. Chairman Tran Viet Truong praises the alumni who came back to Can Tho City after studying in Australia and informs the Ambassador that most of them are holding key positions in local departments and agencies and contribute the city development.

Ambassador Mudie expresses her positive view on this visit and pledges to continue assisting Can Tho in promoting cooperation with Australian businesses and education. After witnessing the current situations and impacts of climate change in the city and Mekong Delta area, the Ambassador says that she will advise the Australian government on suitable supporting policies. According to her, the government of Australia pays a lot of attention to the Mekong sub-region, especially that part of Vietnam. The Australian government believes that this is the center for economic growth of Vietnam as well as the region. In the last East Asia Summit, Australia has signed the "Mekong - Australia Programme" with 5 countries, including Vietnam, about priorities and inclusive development programs for this area.

In particular, according to the Ambassador, during the last 20 years, Australian government has spent 650 million dollars for the Mekong Delta development, especially through amjor projects such as My Thuan Bridge (completed in 2000) and Cao Lanh Bridge (completed in 2018; the largest mainland project in South East Asia undertaken by Australian government, costing 160 million dollars). Besides, the Ambassador has recently had a working session with World Bank to prepare a program about cimate change adaption and resilience for the Mekong Delta region.

The two leaders also exchange views on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to the city. Ms. Mudie pledges that Australia government will assist Vietnam to recover after the pandemic as well as spending 500 million dollars for purchasing and accessing the vaccines.

After the meeting today, Ms. Mudie is scheduled to host a reception with the Australian alumni in Can Tho to hear about their stories of studying in Australia.

Quách Thanh Trúc

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