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US pledges support for economic growth

THE United States has pledged a further US$17 million to support Cambodia’s economic growth, including aid for small and medium-sized businesses.

Cambodia and American representatives will today sign an amendment to an existing agreement, with the US Agency for International Development agreeing to provide extra funding for economic growth, food security and climate change initiatives.

The Cambodian Government will provide $425,000 of support in-kind.

Some of the funds will be used to support micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises in a capacity-building programme that has already helped 3,800 business owners, according to a US embassy press release yesterday. The programme – implemented by aid organisation Development Alternatives Inc – has helped teach businesses about quality-control, established dialogue between the public and private sectors and linked small communities with suppliers, according to its website.

It has helped increase sales by 100 to 340 percent for MSMEs, the release said.

Meng Saktheara, director general of industry at the Secretariat of Small and Medium Enterprise sub-committtee at the Industry Ministry, welcomed the funding yesterday.

“I hope that the funding will be one more step to help build better MSME capacity,” he said.

“Our policy and strategy is to try to find more funding to support and improve competency to compete with neighbours and promote exports.”

The funding will also go towards enhancing agricultural production, post-harvest management and climate change.

The US ambassador to Cambodia, Carol Rodley, is set to attend today’s ceremony at the Council of Ministers’ building, along with Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and USAID mission director Flynn Fuller.

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