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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Govt elated by $777m aid total

Govt elated by $777m aid total

Confusion over some pledges

T he international community dug deep

into its pockets to find more than $777 million in pledges including $350,000 in

military uniforms from Thailand, and $120,000 of artificial limbs from India, at

the ICORC meeting in Tokyo this month.

A total of $777,103,555 was

pledged for the reconstruction of Cambodia including $490 million which will be

spent this year, and a further allocation of $271 million for


Minister of Information Ieng Mouly said the total was more than the

Cambodian delegation had hoped for.

"On the flight to Tokyo we [the

Cambodian delegation] discussed how much money we hoped would be committed. We

decided that if there were commitments of $350 million we would be very happy.

In fact, we received over $750 million."

The aid will be given in a

variety of forms including technical assistance, grant aid and debt relief.

Other aid is being funneled through international agencies.

Although a

figure of $775 million was reported by international press agencies immediately

after the conference, it is still far from clear how much of this money is new

money, and how much is a re-commitment to pledges already made.


indicated that its September 1993 pledge of $400,000 could not be realized in

1993, and that the money would be made available in 1994.

The United

Kingdom said it had previously pledged $30 million over a 4-5 year period, not

all of which has been spent.

However, the Royal government is clearly

satisfied with the support it received at the conference.

But two

further questions still remain - how much of the commitments represent money the

government will be able to spend without constraints, and how much will have to

be re-paid.

Much of the money appears to be committed to specific

projects or is intended to be channeled through international agencies like UNDP

or NGOs like the Red Cross.

Austria made a contingent commitment of

$100,000 for 1994 to the Kirirom Hydropower Station, and Japan tagged $1.6

million for UNDP. Canada has recently given the UNDP, the Red Cross in Cambodia

and the World Food Program in Cambodia $1 million each.

Denmark, whose

commitments to Cambodia have totaled $37 million, pledged an additional $6

million for 1995, to be used by the Interim Mekong Committee and Danish NGO's.

India offered to continue to help restore Angkor Wat by adding $120,000 to the

$1.1 million it has already spent.

Sweden committed over $13 million to

be spent in 1994 and a similar amount for 1995. Almost all of the 1994 money was

committed to international organizations like Unicef, UNDP and the UN Center for

Human Rights.

Some assistance appears to have been made on a more

flexible basis.

Japan's commitment of nearly $90 million in grant aid for

the 1994 fiscal year is, according to its pledge, "to the priority areas such as

agriculture, improvement and development of social and economic infrastructure

and human resources development."

Thailand said it would earmark $1.2

million for technical assistance to Cambodia, which will concentrate on human

resource development, medical and public health care, and rural


Deputy Administrator for the US Agency for International

Development, Carol Lancaster, said the American contribution so far amounted to

more than $135 million.

She said the United States government intended to

provide over $33 million in 1994 and $40 million in 1995, subject to approval by

the United States Congress. An additional $6 million was ear-marked for


Not all countries could make a financial commitment. Vietnam

said because it was facing many economic and financial difficulties, it was

unable to provide direct financial aid. However, it indicated a willingness to

allow goods required by Cambodia to be transported through its ports and across

the country.

Vietnam also said it would continue to provide training for

students and technical workers, and would provide experts, if requested by the

Cambodian government.

Like the Thai contribution of uniforms and the

Indian contribution of artificial limbs, some of the aid extended Cambodia will

be in the form of material support.

The Russian Federation pledged to

finance the education of more than 500 Cambodians in Russian higher and

specialized secondary institutes until 1998, at a cost to the Federation of

$11.1 million.

In addition, the Russian Federation will also subsidize

the handing over of the 150 kW medium-wave radio station in Phnom Penh to the

government, and donate educational laboratory equipment to the Phnom Penh

University. These two gifts total $2.9 million.

The Cooperation Committee

for Cambodia (CCC) pledged over $65 million for 1994.

CCC represents over

60 international NGOs involved in Cambodia and 50 recently-founded Cambodian

NGOs and Associations



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