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Cambodia, ADB sign US$230m in agreements

Publication Date : 18-01-2013

 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed grant and loan agreements worth US$230 million with Cambodia yesterday.

"The agreements signed today mark a significant milestone in the 20 year partnership between the Royal Government and ADB in scaling up development initiatives to reduce poverty and build sustainable economic growth," Cambodian Finance Minister Keat Chhon said yesteray.

The agreements are for six projects including three to diversify the economy, decentralise public services and financial management, and develop education. Other projects are to develop southern economic corridor towns, flood and drought risk management and mitigation, and expanding medium-voltage sub-transmission.

Eric Sidgwick, the ADB country director, said the initiatives would assist poor and vulnerable people, help the government expand trade and investment, diversify the economy and "help transform Cambodia into an open and market-based economy."

In a statement, the ADB said the US$25 million Promoting Economic Diversification Program will help Cambodia generate investment and improve the business environment for the private sector, particularly small firms, by cutting regulatory costs and the time it takes to open up a business, expanding access to finance, and reforming trade and customs policies.

As part of decentralisation, the ADB will also provide a loan of US$37.5 million to improve access to basic services, including health and sanitation, rural road rehabilitation, and agriculture expansion. The project will build 40 district offices in poor rural areas, the statement said.

The US$30 million Third Education Sector Development Program will expand access to lower secondary education by building 60 new schools in 11 of the poorest provinces, while expanding 28 existing schools in eight provinces.

The programme will also provide 22 primary schools with lower secondary classrooms, and improve the quality of lower secondary education through key policy reforms and interventions, including improved school-based management.

The Southern Economic Corridor project involves US$47.9 million and aims to help Battambang, Bavet, Neak Loeung and Poipet develop into economic hubs by improving their urban infrastructure and strengthening the skills of provincial and local authorities.

The US$44.8 million Flood and Drought Risk Management and Mitigation Project will upgrade irrigation systems and infrastructure in Pursat province, strengthen national flood forecasting centres, and provide  support to farmers for community-based disaster risk management.

The statement said improved drought management and irrigation structures should benefit farmers on about 16,000 hectares of land, while at least 10,000 people will gain from improved flood management.

In the electricity sector, the US$45 million Medium-Voltage Sub-Transmission Expansion Sector Project will finance more than 2,100 kilometres of 22 kilovolt sub-transmission lines in Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, Kandal and Banteay Meanchey provinces, with the aim of cutting household power expenses by up to 60 per cent.

The agreements signed yesterday comprise a US$209.5 million loan from the Asian Development Fund, a US$9 million loan and a US$10.2 million grant from the Strategic Climate Fund and a co-financing grant of US$1.5 million from Sweden for the Flood and Drought Risk Management and Mitigation Project.   


 

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