Excellency Nguyễn Thành Phong, Chairman, HCMC People’s Committee
Leaders of HCMC Departments
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon, Xin Chào!
I am very pleased to be here today for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between HCMC and the World Bank on our comprehensive partnership for strategic engagements in the period 2018 to 2021.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the people and the leadership of HCMC on great achievements in realizing important development programs for this largest economic centre of Vietnam. Today, I see a modern, vibrant city of more than 10 million inhabitants that is well on its way to becoming a regional hub in the South-East Asia Region. This is in no small part due to your strong leadership and vision to transform this city.
Given the landmark National Assembly’s resolution on HCMC’s special mechanism for improved autonomy in 2017, I see a fantastic window of opportunity for the city to start visioning the next generation of urban development focusing on integrated and smart solutions to manage rapid urbanization. Your vision for HCMC to become a livable, sustainable, and furthermore a smart city is indeed aspirational and I believe that it is achievable by successful implementation of the on-going 7 break-through program of the City. These programs will also require substantial resources beyond the city’s budget. This is where I envision the city leverage private sector participation in critical infrastructure sectors while maintaining a balance of not slowing down growth. This can be done if we can get more from less and become more efficient in public spending.
In this context, we are pleased to report that the World Bank is a long standing trusted partner of HCMC over the last 20 years. The World Bank has supported the development of HCMC through investments and technical assistance focusing on urban upgrading, water supply and sanitation urban drainage improvements, urban mobility and fiscal management. We are very proud that eight (8) World Bank-supported projects totalling about US$1.2 billion, have made significant contributions to the City’s economic and infrastructure development including benefiting millions of people in the City. For example, the once filthy Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe and Tan Hoa – Lo Gom canals have been cleaned up and upgraded. They have become attractive recreational parks for local residents, and even touristic attraction. This is just the start. We also understand that HCMC needs to take urgent actions to tackle issues related to important problems including transport and flood risk under the climate change context that can easily wipe away the gains made in the recent decade.
We would like to see continuation of our joint efforts for building a long-term and strategic partnership between World Bank and HCMC. Today’s event comes at an important juncture, where we use this MOU to further advance our partnership and support. I would like to assure you of the World Bank Group’s commitment to continue supporting the city’s efforts to become a truly world class city and express our desire to continue shifting the focus of our assistance from a sectoral approach towards a strategic engagement which adopts an integrated city-wide and programmatic approach. We view our partnership in urban transport, environmental sanitation, energy efficiency, urban planning, housing, PPP and fiscal sustainability agendas as part of a package of long-term support to the city. In doing so, I would like to highlight that the World Bank Group will leverage world class knowledge and solutions from our Global Practices in partnership with the IFC.
I look forward to the successful implementation of our MOU, and wish you all good health, happiness and success.
Xin Cảm ơn!