The French Agency for Development (AFD) announced yesterday that it will provide $24 million to finance privately owned water and power providers to supply rural areas that state-run utilities cannot reach.
During a ceremony held at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the AFD and the Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) both signed off on the loan agreement, which will see the FTB provide operational, financial and technical assistance to the small-scale operators.
Just 30 per cent of Cambodian households have access to electricity, while only 30 to 60 per cent have access to clean water, according to André Pouillés-Duplaix, AFD director for Cambodia and Laos.
Private water providers operating their own water treatment facilities and small electricity companies capable of providing energy off the grid to Cambodia’s rural areas will be encouraged to take advantage of the funding.
Pouillés-Duplaix urged the government, commercial banks and microfinance institutions, as well as water and electricity operators themselves, to cooperate in streamlining clean water and electricity access to those areas beyond the reach of state-run utility providers.
To meet the challenge, “we need participation from relevant key players, from those who directly operate and those who provide financial tools to solve the problem”, he said.
Up to 50,000 rural households are expected receive better access to water and 35,000 to benefit from electricity as a result of the funding, according to the AFD.