Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ADB signs $180M in loans to Cambodia

ADB signs $180M in loans to Cambodia

Workers construct a section of the road on the southern outskirts of Phnom Penh in 2014.
Workers construct a section of the road on the southern outskirts of Phnom Penh in 2014. Heng Chivoan

ADB signs $180M in loans to Cambodia

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday signed a $180 million package of loans and grants to Cambodia that are meant to improve the country’s roads, water supply and small-scale farms.

One $70 million loan will go towards improving 147-kilometres’ worth of flood-prone stretches of National Road 1 and National Road 6 in Prey Veng, Siem Reap and Svay Rieng provinces.

Another $50 million loan will go towards improving and expanding sewage infrastructure and water treatment plants in the provincial capitals of Battambang, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. The loan was accompanied by a $10 million grant from the Japanese government to build an energy-efficient wastewater treatment plant in Battambang province.

The third project – comprising a $45.7 million loan and $4.3 million grant – will go toward increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers in provinces in the Tonle Sap river basin.

“All three projects have the common goal: To reduce poverty and accelerate Cambodian livelihood, in both the urban areas and rural areas,” Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth said at the signing ceremony in Phnom Penh yesterday.

ADB Country Director Samiuela Tukuafu declined to answer questions yesterday about the exact interest rates of the loans, but noted that they were all concessional, which generally means they are more favourable for the borrower than a market-rate loan.

“We look forward to working closely with our colleagues in government to successfully implement all three projects for the benefit of the Cambodian people,” he said.

The ADB’s two largest donors are the US and Japan, both of which have expressed concern at the Cambodian government’s recent moves to dissolve and jail its primary political opposition.

But Sophal Ear, associate professor of diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles, said a loan this size would likely have been years in the making, though he noted the ADB was rarely concerned about internal politics.

“Well, obviously, rewarding a country that kills democracy with a $200 million loan isn’t a great thing,” Ear said. “But the ADB isn’t probably thinking that far. Democracy isn’t in their charter. The internal political system is not a consideration, and if they loan to Vietnam and Laos, goes their thinking, why not to Cambodia.”

The ADB has lent a total of $2.29 billion to Cambodia, and given an additional $455 million in grants.

At the end of 2016, Cambodia’s stock of external public debt, including arrears, stood at around $6.45 billion, or about 32 percent of the country’s GDP, according to the International Monetary Fund.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a

  • Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

    Filipina Lalaine de Guzman, 48, is demanding answers for the detention of her American partner by Cambodian immigration officers after he was arrested at their home almost 90 days ago. She said without an arrest warrant or proffering any criminal charges, Stephen Sidney Greatsinger, 56, is being detained

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital