The EU, Germany and France will invest $115 million to develop rural infrastructure in Cambodia, a joint press release said on December 21.
Representatives of the Cambodian government, German development bank KfW, Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and the EU inked agreements for the financing of the Rural Infrastructure Development Programme for Cambodia (RID4CAM), it said.
The programme aims to improved the road network and develop rural infrastructure in the central plains region of Cambodia, it said, noting that it has the highest population density and is most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
It said RID4CAM aims to finance the construction of complementary infrastructure in the drinking water and sanitation, agriculture, health and education sectors, as well as strengthen the capacities of all the actors involved.
RID4CAM is co-financed by KfW, acting on behalf of the German government, AFD and the EU. KfW will provide a combination of loans and grants totalling €37.1 million ($45.2 million), AFD a €50 million loan and the EU a €8.73 million grant.
French ambassador to Cambodia Eva Nguyen Binh said: “I am particularly pleased to see how this RID4CAM project confirms the ability and agility of the European Union Delegation to Cambodia and France and Germany as member-states to work together for the benefit of rural populations.
“As we just celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, we have renewed our commitment to fight climate change.
“Thus, I am particularly proud that this new AFD financing contributes fully to this objective, though the development of resilient and adaptive infrastructures in rural areas.
“I am also happy to see that it promotes a new approach for local development at territorial scale,” Binh said.
German ambassador to Cambodia Christian Berger noted that recent floods have highlighted the importance of making roads more resilient to extreme weather.
He said rural roads are vital economic lifelines for 70 per cent of Cambodians.
“I am proud that Germany joins hands with France and the EU to contribute to a climate-resilient rural infrastructure which will assure access to markets, schools and health centres also during extreme weather events,” Berger said.
Harald Huttenrauch of KfW in Cambodia said RID4CAM builds on the lender’s long-standing and successful cooperation with Cambodia in rural development, particularly with the Ministry of Rural Development in the field of rural roads.
He said: “We are very proud to now join forces with AFD and the European Union to take our cooperation with Cambodia in this sector to the next level.
“RID4CAM will provide access to economic opportunities and social services and thus improve the living conditions of many in the rural areas of Cambodia.”
AFD Cambodia director Ophelie Bourhis said: “This signature operationalises a joint declaration that was made a few days back, whereby development banks, including AFD and KfW, committed to do more to achieve sustainable development goals.
“We are very proud to finance this rural development project, which is complementary to the work carried out by AFD since the 2000s to rehabilitate irrigation schemes.”
EU Ambassador to Cambodia Carmen Moreno said: “I believe that this new Team Europe project, which combines the forces from Germany, France and the European Union, will impact positively the life of tens of thousands of rural Cambodian families.
“A better connectivity to access markets and services is key to reduce poverty and economic disparities as well as to create new job opportunities in different provinces.
“This is particularly important to accompany the recovery from Covid-19 crisis. We will also attach a great importance on the proper systems to be put in place for the regular maintenance of the rural roads beyond their rehabilitation.”