The UK has expressed interest in promoting investment in Cambodia’s infrastructure and energy sector, in a move that has been hailed as a potential avenue to appreciably lower production costs domestically and bolster the Kingdom’s general competitiveness on the regional and global stages.

This came during a meeting between Ministry of Mines and Energy secretary of state Sok Khavan and officials from the UK’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) and the British embassy in Phnom Penh, the ministry said in a February 6 statement.

Speaking at the meeting held at the ministry, the IPA officials revealed that a number of UK firms have shown interest in cooperation in the energy sector as well as lending support for the infrastructure investment boom through partnerships between British and Cambodian entities, the statement indicated.

They also commended the Cambodian government for its role in ensuring sustainable infrastructure development, noting that renewable energy sources account for a substantial share of the Kingdom’s total electricity supply.

For reference, renewable energy sources represent around 55 per cent of the total installed power capacity in the country, as reported by Prime Minister Hun Sen in September.

Khavan welcomes any legitimate UK investments, along with any cooperation or communication between the energy ministry and the British entities involved, the statement noted.

Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy is also looking forward to UK investments in the local infrastructure and clean energy domains, which he noted have been set as priorities by the government and private sector to trim production costs and help domestic businesses successfully compete.

The private sector has “always advised foreign investors, including the UK’s, that Cambodia has great potential for investment in infrastructure and energy”, he said, listing Japan, South Korea and China as top source markets for investors in the field.

“The government is also open to other countries, including the UK,” Chanthy said, noting that an infrastructure master plan has been set out that covers more than 300 major projects and will require nearly $50 billion in investment, hence offering ample opportunities for foreign players.

He stressed that the four-nation union “has made great strides in infrastructure building”, and that British investment in the field “will contribute to our growing transportation and logistics system and promote our international trade”.

At a June 15 meeting with the then-Japanese ambassador Masahiro Mikami, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed that master plan was designed to strengthen and expand road infrastructure and connect major thoroughfares – especially international border checkpoints – increase Cambodia’s competitiveness, attract foreign investment and reduce logistics- and transportation-related costs and wasted time.

He said the plan would encompass about 330 projects, including road construction, renovations, widening and other upgrades; connectivity improvements to speed up travel and freight transport; and supporting infrastructure at international border checkpoints.