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Mekong summit sees $66B worth of projects agreed to

(From left) Asean Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Laos’s Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Myanmar’s Vice President Henry Van Thio, President of the Asian Development Bank Takehiko Nakao and Managing Director and World Bank Group Chief Financial Officer Joaquim Levy pose for a photo before the Greater Mekong Subregion Summit in Ha
(From left) Asean Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Laos’s Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Myanmar’s Vice President Henry Van Thio, President of the Asian Development Bank Takehiko Nakao and Managing Director and World Bank Group Chief Financial Officer Joaquim Levy pose for a photo before the Greater Mekong Subregion Summit in Hanoi on Saturday. Vietnam News Agency/AFP

Mekong summit sees $66B worth of projects agreed to

Six countries pledged to enact $66 billion worth of projects over the next five years at the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Summit in Hanoi on Saturday, with Cambodia-specific projects scheduled to receive the least amount of funding of any participant.

Representatives from the six GMS countries – Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Myanmar – agreed to undertake more than 200 regional development projects over the next five years, with funding coming from both the project’s home country as well as bilateral and development partners, such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

In total, the framework lists $83 billion in development ventures to be tackled between 2012 and 2030.

According to the framework, the majority of the funds – about $54 billion – will be dedicated to improving transportation infrastructure within GMS member countries.

Cambodia is scheduled to launch 11 transportation projects worth a combined $2.3 billion, the least of any GMS country. Of that total, $1.6 billion comes from a single project, the Chinese-funded expressway from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville.

By comparison, the framework outlines 31 transportation projects worth $18.9 billion in Laos, 16 projects worth $3.3 billion in Myanmar, six projects worth $15 billion in China, 16 projects worth $7.7 billion in Thailand and 13 projects worth $6.3 billion in Vietnam.

Most projects are specific to either a single country or to a handful of member countries, while about $1 billion is scheduled to fund 39 projects dedicated to “All GMS countries”. Cambodia is likely to receive some of that funding, although the exact distribution is not provided in the investment framework.

Similarly, 37 projects worth a combined $2.5 billion are set to be implemented in Cambodia and several other GMS countries, but the framework does not detail how that money is expected to be distributed between the countries either.

Outside of the transportation sector, only two listed projects are Cambodia-specific. The first proposes $60 million for the construction of a Phnom Penh New Port Special Economic Zone, though neither a funder nor a timeline were detailed in the framework.

The second outlines $1.4 million in ADB funding promised to Cambodia’s Asean Economic Community Support Program, which provides the Kingdom assistance in implementing national reform programs.

The newly adopted frameworks – the Hanoi Action Plan and the GMS Economic Cooperation Program’s expanded Regional Investment Framework – promise at least $7 billion in supportive investment from the ADB, according to a press release from the bank.

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