The French development agency AFD has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting advancement in remote areas in Cambodia, and aims to strengthen its long-standing partnership with the government.

The pledge came during a September 18 meeting that included Minister of Rural Development Chhay Rithisen, French ambassador Jacques Pellet and officials from AFD.

Pellet stated that the partnership between the respective governments has been excellent.

“We have supported the country in areas, such as physical infrastructure and education, and have awarded numerous scholarships to Cambodian students,” he said.

AFD country director Sandrine Boucher echoed his sentiments.

“We aim to further enhance our cooperation, particularly in the field of non-urban infrastructure improvement, as requested by the ministry,” she said.

Rithisen expressed gratitude to the French for their continued support, particularly through the AFD.

“To attain upper-middle-income status by 2030 and high-income status by 2050, we have launched the first phase of our Pentagonal Strategy, which focuses on job growth, equality, efficiency and sustainability. This approach targets five priority areas: people, roads, water, electricity and digital technology,” he explained.

He also outlined the ministry’s priority programmes which aimed at stimulating economic growth in outlying areas. These initiatives focus on the expansion of physical infrastructure and telecommunications, improving living conditions and strengthening administrative support services.

The AFD has been active in the Kingdom since 1993, investing in crucial infrastructure projects including urban and non-urban utilities, as well as economic initiatives in electricity, water and sanitation.

The agency also plays a significant role in facilitating basic services in remote areas, which are home to 70 per cent of the population. Rural road development is among the AFD’s top priorities, along with contributions to clean water, sanitation, agriculture, health and education sectors.