Since its establishment in 1991, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has been responsible for grant aid programs and has orchestrated Korea’s official development assistance.
KOICA has set up 47 overseas offices in 46 developing countries; accordingly, the KOICA Cambodia Office opened in Phnom Penh in 2003, distributing grants of $155 million from 1991 to 2014.
This year, the Cambodia office has given $24 million in assistance, making Cambodia KOICA’s second largest partner after Vietnam in terms of aid volume.
KOICA has a broad spectrum of assistance programs mainly consisting of development projects, capacity development programs for government officials, a volunteer program named “World Friend Korea” and public-private partnership (PPP) programs.
In each of these categories, KOICA Cambodia has completed 42 development projects, invited a total of 2,580 government officials to Korea, dispatched 385 volunteers and implemented 120 public-private partnership (PPP) projects. In response to the high demand from Cambodia, KOICA carries out development projects in four main sectors.
First, in the agriculture and rural development sector, KOICA aims toward promoting community development by improving water management infrastructure, empowering farmers, creating jobs and developing local economy. Since 2014, KOICA has implemented a self-supporting rural development project with Saemaul Undong (SMU)’s participatory approach, also known as the New Village Movement.
In support of the New Village Movement, KOICA will focus on developing a national master plan, set up a central training institute for community leaders and launch community demand-driven projects to empower 30 model villages in Kampong Speu, Thbong Khmum and Takeo provinces. All projects are scheduled to happen by 2018 and are based on the premise of individual voluntary participation, which will be achieved through the principles of diligence, self-help and cooperation. Furthermore, the SMU rural development project will provide an essential outlet for the sustainability of not only the rural areas but every community in Cambodia.
KOICA’s second priority is Cambodia’s health sector. As a part of its efforts to improve quality of and access to public health care, KOICA has successfully established five public hospitals: the National Pediatric Hospital, Preah Ang Duong Eye Hospital, Maternal and Child Medical Center in Siem Reap Provincial Hospital, Batheay Referral Hospital and the Korea-Cambodia Friendship Hospital in Kampong Chhnang.
To broaden horizons and extend the scope of health projects, last year, KOICA started to support Cambodia Health Sector Support Programs with other major donors in order to operate the health equity fund, a pro-poor health financing scheme that targets identified poor households and funds service delivery grants.
Furthermore, KOICA also supports the development of transport and industrial infrastructure with a goal of building the foundation for an eco-friendly and sustainable economic growth. The major on-going project in this sector is a feasibility study on waterway improvement for port logistics development in Cambodia.
Human resource development is another critical task for KOICA. As KOICA’s landmark project, the Cambodia-Korea Cooperation Center (CKCC) at the Royal University of Phnom Penh provides better learning environments to students, faculties, researchers and local residents. CKCC offers various educational programs focused on information and communication technology, and Korean language courses. It acts as the cultural exchange hub between Korea and Cambodia. In this sector, KOICA will continue to employ all its resources to share Korea’s knowledge, skills and experiences, such as in various development projects including the establishment of the Civil Aviation Training Center.
In addition to the four priority sectors, the KOICA Cambodia office explores new areas of cooperation such as culture, financial industry. From 2014 to 2016, KOICA will continue to work on the project for security market development with a goal of promoting capacity building for the Cambodian government, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia and the Cambodia Securities Exchange to attract more firms.
Another fresh attempt is the restoration and conservation project for Preah Pithu Temple of Angkor Complex, which commenced this year.
KOICA also works closely with international organisations.
This year, KOICA supports three projects: a UNICEF project on improving maternal and newborn health among deprived populations, a UNESCO project on preservation and digitalisation of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and a UNIDO project that creates jobs in electronic waste to support job creation.