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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US offers $7.79m in aid for rural businesses

US offers $7.79m in aid for rural businesses

THE government signed an amendment to an existing bilateral agreement with the United States on Wednesday that will provide US$7.79 million in funds for a programme aimed at boosting productivity in rural businesses.

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said the money, which will be provided through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), would provide a welcome boost to the economy given the impact of the global economic downturn on Cambodia.

The original bilateral agreement, signed last November, called for $6 million in funding. Sok An said the increase reflected “improved cooperation between Cambodia and the United States of America” and would "help strengthen the relationship between the two governments, particularly in the field of economic cooperation”.

Under the amendment, inked on behalf of the US government by USAID Mission Director Flynn Fuller, the government is expected to provide $425,000 of in-kind support.

The money will be used to expand USAID’s Strengthening Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Cambodia project, which aims to alleviate poverty in rural areas.

The programme has helped over 3,000 farmers increase their sales by between 100 percent and 340 percent, according to a press release from the US embassy.

US Ambassador Carol Rodley said USAID funding not only helped business growth but also provided a boost for living standards in rural areas. “I have been working side-by-side with Cambodian colleagues, and we have helped thousands of rural entrepreneurs,” she said.

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