Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn on Wednesday said the Japanese government had provided the Kingdom with $134.38 million in aid packages in the past 12 months – $19.42 million in grants and the remaining $114.96 million in loans.
Sokhonn, who is also a deputy prime minister, was speaking during the signing ceremony of the “Exchange of Notes on the Extension of the Japanese Government’s Support”, which sees Japan offering more than $43 million in grants and loans for two projects.
Approximately $31.6 million will go towards the West Tonle Sap Irrigation and Drainage Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (II), while the Project of Development of Port Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) System for Port Modernisation will receive $11.8 million, The Post reported on Wednesday.
The event was held at the ministry and presided over by Sokhonn and Hidehisa Horinouchi, the Ambassador of Japan to Cambodia.
Sokhonn said the grants and loans were being provided in order to contribute to the government’s Rectangular Strategy Phase 4, and especially to support its focus on “improving logistics systems and enhancing transport, energy and digital resources”, and to “enhance agriculture, rural development and sustainable management of natural resources and culture”.
These are the two main factors that will help Cambodia realise its goal of becoming an upper-middle income country by 2030, he said.
“Japan has been one of the largest donors supporting the Cambodian government’s development projects since the early 1990s, especially to improve logistics, health, education, human resources, agriculture and living standards,” Sokhonn said.
Horinouchi said during the signing ceremony that Japan is strengthening and improving cooperation with the Kingdom in all sectors, especially in port development and agriculture.
“I believe the Japanese contribution will improve Cambodia’s export sector and increase agricultural productivity in line with worldwide demand."
“Port development and agriculture were the main priorities to support Cambodia’s economic growth,” he said.
San Chey, the executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the Japanese aid targeted real development needed to serve the daily needs of the Cambodian people. However, he hoped to see transparency across the board regarding the allocation of aid budgets.
“I have noticed that Japan’s aid mostly focuses on infrastructures, such as roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and other important areas. They have been directly involved and we can see that it’s highly effective."
“We also want to see other countries’ aid used in a transparent and highly effective manner in order to best serve our people,” he said.