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Japan gov’t loans Cambodia $185M for Covid-19 battle

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JICA chief representative Haruko Kamei (left) and finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth during the signing ceremony on Wednesday. SPM

Japan gov’t loans Cambodia $185M for Covid-19 battle

The Japanese government has provided $185 million in loans to Cambodia through its Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the fight against Covid-19 and subsequent economic recovery efforts.

The signing ceremony was held on January 12 at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh in the presence of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami.

The loan agreement for the “Covid-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan Phase 2” amounts to 20 billion yen (around $185 million) and was signed by Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth and JICA chief representative Haruko Kamei.

According to the Japanese embassy, the first phase of the loan was provided in November 2020 in the amount of $237 million.

“[Japan] is now extending the loan to Phase 2 in order to prevent further spread of infections, protect vulnerable people, provide relief measures for enterprises, maintain and revitalise economic activities and build resilience against future economic shocks in Cambodia, which has suffered from adverse economic impacts as a result of the [pandemic],” it said in a press statement.

“The Loan Phase 2 shares a part of policy actions with the Cambodia Relief, Recovery and Resilience Development Policy Financing” by the International Development Assistance of the World Bank Group.”

The total of two phases of Japan’s emergency support loan to Cambodia is amounted to around $422 million.

“As one of the largest development partners in the country, in addition to financial support, JICA has taken a holistic approach to assistance with various challenges like providing equipment for diagnosis, vaccines delivery in remote provinces and expansion of the clean water supply,” it added.

According to Hun Sen’s Facebook post following the signing ceremony, the loan will be used to support the implementation of the government’s policies in responding to health and socio-economic impacts caused by Covid-19.

“It is especially focused on social aid to poor and vulnerable groups such as people living below the poverty line, elderly people, women, children and ethnic minority groups,” said the post.

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