Tokyo development agency to improve local demining capacity.
Finance Minister Keat Chhon at a JICA signing ceremony last Wednesday.
THE Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced more than US$40 million in development loans and grants, according to Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon.
At a ceremony at the Finance Ministry on Wednesday, JICA chief representative Yoneda Kazuhiro pledged a $35 million loan for the government's Niroth Water Supply Project in Phnom Penh and a $5.5 million grant for an upgrade in demining equipment.
"This will be the first loan extended by JICA since the merging of the Overseas Economic Cooperation Operations of the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation with JICA, which has now become the sole development aid agency of the Japanese government," Keat Chhon said.
He said that the loan for the water supply project, which would upgrade water treatment facilities in Phnom Penh, would be supplemented by a loan of $20 million from the French Development Agency and a further $20 million from the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority.
He said also that the demining grant was the fifth phase of such assistance from JICA, adding that from 1998 to 2004 Tokyo gave the Kingdom a total of $37.12 million for demining activities.
"Demining is a critical part of the government's effort to combat the legacy of war to reduce and eventually eliminate any further mine or UXO causalities," Keat Chhon said, "Many of the development projects cannot be carried out in a safe environment without mine or UXO clearance - mine action is a priority for the socio-economic development and poverty reduction of rural communities."
Kazuhiro said the demining grant aimed at improving the government's demining effectiveness, in order to achieve its target of clearing 427 square kilometres of the most heavily mined areas in Cambodia by 2012.
"We do our best to contribute to the development of Cambodia through these projects, based on the Rectangular Strategy and the National Strategic Development Plan of Cambodian government," he said.