Cambodia and Australia on September 17 launched the latter’s “new flagship” A$87 million (currently US$58 million) programme, the Cambodia Australia Partnership for Resilient Economic Development (CAP-RED), which aims to support post-Covid-19 economic recovery in the Kingdom, according to the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh.
“CAP-RED is a five-year partnership that is built on more than a decade of Australia’s support to Cambodian agriculture and infrastructure through the now completed Cambodia-Australia Agricultural Value Chain [CAVAC] and Investing in Infrastructure [3i] programmes. Together these programmes have benefitted over two million rural Cambodians,” the embassy said in a statement.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Tim Ayres, Assistant Minister for Trade and Manufacturing, commented that the two countries have maintained 70 years of official diplomatic relations – established on January 15, 1952.
“CAP-RED is further evidence of our long-standing and ongoing partnership with Cambodia. We look forward to sharing knowledge and expertise with our Cambodian counterparts to create an enabling environment for investment, productivity and trade,” the statement quoted Ayres, who is also senator for the Australian state of New South Wales, as saying.
Speaking at the same event, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary of state Vongsey Vissoth remarked that CAP-RED represents a “new height” in the overall Cambodian-Australian partnership, and that its primary goal is to ensure that the Kingdom regains sustainable, resilient and inclusive economic growth.
“CAP-RED’s focus is on three interrelated key policy areas – namely infrastructure; trade and investment; and agriculture and agro-processing – where gender and social inclusion will be addressed.
“We have also successfully completed the 3i programme for 2015-2022, implementation that promoted and catalysed business growth in the Cambodian infrastructure sector by creating a more enabling environment for the private sector investments,” he said.
Vissoth lauded Canberra as one of Cambodia’s “leading development partners since 1992”, which he said has provided “more than US$1.3 billion” in development assistance financing for areas such as agriculture, education and training, health, governance, and landmine clearance.
The statement added: “The CAP-RED partnership was developed after comprehensive consultations with both the public and the private sector on the best way to help the Cambodian economy recover after Covid-19.
“CAP-RED will support the Royal Government of Cambodia and other relevant counterparts to develop policies that drive inclusive, resilient and sustainable economic growth.”