Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Cambodia Office senior representative Shinji Yanagawa on June 28 signed a 363 million yen ($2.68 million) Grant Agreement under “The Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship by Japanese Grant Aid” (JDS).

An Exchange of Notes signed on June 13 between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Japanese embassy makes the new agreement a legal document, according to a June 28 press statement.

“The project aims to support human resource development by providing more opportunities for young governmental officials who are expected to be involved in the formulation and implementation of socio-economic development plans and play leadership roles to develop Cambodian society,” the statement said.

Additionally, the grant will serve to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries through academic and social activities as well as other forms of networking, and supported by Japanese experience.

The new agreement will provide 26 Cambodian officials with the opportunity to study in Japan, with 24 candidates to be selected for Master’s programmes and two for PhD.

JDS, an abbreviation of the project’s former name “Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarship”, was launched in Cambodia back in 2000, and in more than two decades, 500 young qualified government officials have received scholarships to pursue Master’s and PhD degrees in Japan.

“This project has significantly contributed to human resource development, leading to socio-economic growth in Cambodia. Many JDS alumni have become prominent officials, and leaders of various Cambodian ministries,” the statement said.