The sixth Nha Trang-Khanh Hoa Sea Festival 2013 will include a range of activities towards Truong Sa island district in particular, and homeland’s sea and islands in general.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung addresses the second Viet Nam-Africa International Forum. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhan Sang
Dung was addressing the second Viet Nam-Africa International Forum held in Ha Noi over two days.
Also attending were Deputy PM cum Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem and Under Secretary General of the United Nations Cheick Sidi Diarra, who is also special advisor on Africa and high representative for the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states.
Ministers, ambassadors and representatives from various African countries, businesses and international organisations also attended.
Dung said all challenges for more effective co-operation, which included the insufficiency of exchange of visits at various levels, the incomplete legal framework and the failure to have adequate communication and promotion activities could be tackled through effective co-operation.
"We have much in common," Dung said, "and there are many noble goals and ideals that we share.
"We have the determination and we are here at this important forum to find ways and means to overcome difficulties."
Dung said the past years of working together had shown Viet Nam was capable of meeting the demands for co-operation in the development of Africa, especially in the areas of agriculture, education and training, energy, healthcare, labour, investment and infrastructure.
In opening remarks at the forum, Deputy PM Khiem said relations with African countries in recent years had become an important part of Viet Nam's foreign policy.
"Since the first Viet Nam-Africa International Forum in 2003, we have made great strides in our bilateral and multilateral relations," Khiem said.
They included strengthened political and diplomatic ties, a five-fold increase in trade turnover, positive transformations in many co-operation areas such as agriculture, energy and labour; the signing of over 70 co-operation agreements.
Cheick Sidi Diarra hailed Viet Nam's steady progress towards its Millennium Development Goals and the forum's importance in boosting co-operation between Africa and Viet Nam.
"The growing relationship between Africa and Viet Nam is welcome because it has great potential to develop productive capacity and contribute to the achievement of sustained growth and poverty reduction," Cheick Sidi Diarra said.
"The current Viet Nam-Africa International Forum on Co-operation for Sustainable Development is more than relevant and timely for this global effort towards the achievement of internationally agreed development goals including the Millenium Development Goals."
A panel discussion on food security, agricultural co-operation and poverty reduction was chaired by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat, and one on trade, energy and investment co-operation was chaired by Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang.
Viet Nam-Africa bilateral trade turnover has increased from US$372.4 million in 2003 to $2.07 billion in 2009. Viet Nam has had trade exchanges with most African countries. Viet Nam's key import commodities from Africa include iron and steel, raw cashew nuts, cotton, wood materials, fertiliser and tobacco materials.
The nation mainly exports rice, garments, footwear, electronic equipment, wood products and motor vehicles to African markets.
The same day, President Nguyen Minh Triet received leaders of the African delegations and international organisations participating in the forum.
He affirmed that the Vietnamese people and State always kept in mind the valuable support that the African people had given to Viet Nam in the struggle for national independence and unity.
Having overcome many difficulties and attained achievements in the process of national reconstruction and development, Viet Nam was ready to share with African friends its experience in farming and food security, as well as lessons in hunger alleviation and poverty reduction, and healthcare and educational development.
Viet Nam was consistently willing to expand its co-operative relationship with African nations in the spirit of equality and for mutual benefit, he said.
He expressed his pleasure at the developments in trade and commercial co-operation between Viet Nam and Africa over the past six years.
Viet Nam would make its best efforts to enhance the effectiveness of co-operation between Viet Nam and each African country as well as the African community, he stressed.
Triet thanked UN undersecretary general Cheick Sidi Diarra for his presence at the conference, highly appreciating the UN's role in facilitating the relationship between Viet Nam and Africa as well as its support in implementing development programmes.
Diarra expressed his admiration for Viet Nam's achievements, saying that the country's experience and lessons would be very helpful to African nations.
Delegations would work actively in the forum to seek co-operative opportunities and fully make use of all sides' strengths and potential in order to bring ties to a new height.
On the sidelines of the forum, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Gia Khiem held bilateral meetings with Diarra, Seychelles Minister of Forein Affairs Jean-Paul Adam, and Togo Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation Ohin Ahlin Elliot, as well as the economics advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Gebre Ab Newaychristo. — VNS