Prime Minister Hun Sen has asked the French Development Agency (AFD) to continue to help Cambodia develop its human resources, water treatment and transport infrastructure. AFD has committed $100 million in funding for projects in the coming year.
Hun Sen met with visiting AFD chief executive Remy Rioux at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on February 21, according to the premier’s social media post after the meeting.
“[Hun Sen] requested that AFD continue to assist Cambodia in the several priority areas … including roads and electricity,” it said.
The prime minister also described the Kingdom’s agricultural policy to Rioux, including a push on rice exports, and a shortage of rice mills and warehouses in the country.
“[Hun Sen] explained that Cambodia’s industrial policy aims to increase the processing of its raw materials into value added products, as well as growth in the technology sector,” it said.
He also pointed out the Kingdom’s favourable investment laws, which allow 100 per cent foreign ownership and the use of foreign currency to pay workers’ salaries.
“The prime minister encouraged investment in agriculture and industry,” it added.
AFD has operated in Cambodia since 1993, with February 20 marking the 30th anniversary of their cooperation. The occasion was recently celebrated at the French embassy in Phnom Penh in the presence of senior Cambodian officials, French ambassador Jacques Pellet, AFD’s Rioux and the agency’s country director Sandrine Boucher.
“AFD has been a trusted partner of Cambodia since its reconstruction. In the past 30 years, it has financed nearly $959 million in the sectors of rural development, environmental protection and biodiversity, energy, water and sanitation, infrastructure, energy, education and vocational training,” said a February 21 press release by the agency.
“This long-term support has helped improve access to drinking water, with one million people now connected in Phnom Penh, as well as access to electricity in rural provinces, connecting 165,000 households to the grid,” it added.
It noted that AFD’s activities had grown strongly since 2017, with 50 per cent of its cumulative commitments since 1993 granted after this date.
“AFD Group’s new commitments in Cambodia are expected to continue over the next three years at up to $159 million per year. Together with ‘Team Europe’, AFD is actively participating in European support for the country’s development,” it said.
It added that during the celebration of the 30th anniversary, a new tunnel boring machine that will construct a water pipeline under the Tonle Sap River was inaugurated. The pipeline will serve the Bakheng water treatment plant, which is co-financed by the EU and the EIB.
“In addition, a financing agreement for the National Social Security Fund [NSSF] to provide adaptive social protection was signed, along with partnership agreements between the Institute of Technology of Cambodia [ITC] and the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority [PPWSA], and between the ITC, Electricity of Cambodia [EDC] and the University of Grenoble Alpes for the launch an energy transition research platform,” it said.
“An agreement for Expertise France to conduct activities in Cambodia was also inked, paving the way for a more extensive deployment of the AFD subsidiary’s work in the Kingdom,” it added.