The Australian embassy in Phnom Penh – in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport – launched the “Partnership for Infrastructure (P4I)” initiative to accelerate the development of quality infrastructure to drive inclusive and resilient development in Cambodia.
P4I is part of an integrated package of support to drive the region’s Covid-19 recovery through inclusive, sustainable growth.
The initiative provides over $86 million to partner with Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, East Timor and Vietnam across the transport, energy, utilities, and telecommunications sectors.
Australian ambassador Pablo Kang said at the May 31 launch event that the initiative would build on Cambodia’s 70-year relationship with Australia.
“Australia has a longstanding and trusted reputation for supporting quality infrastructure development in the region and in Cambodia,” he said.
Cambodia has expressed an interest in accessing Australian infrastructure expertise and experience to meet the country’s diverse infrastructure needs, said Kang, adding: “We look forward to seeing the benefits of this new partnership in Cambodia.”
In a tweet after the event, the ambassador said: “This US$86 million regional programme is already working on wastewater recovery, telecommunications regulation, implementation of the PPP law [Law on Public-Private Partnerships] and updating of road standards in Cambodia.”
According to the embassy’s May 31 press release, P4I is already “actively” working with Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance to improve financing and cost recovery in the wastewater sector, strengthen public investment management, and build capacity to attract more quality private investment in the Kingdom’s infrastructure through public-private partnerships.
P4I is also in discussions with the public works ministry to update road standards and design a national wastewater strategy and is engaging with Cambodian telecommunications regulators and the Ministry of Mines and Energy to expand Australia’s engagement with the Kingdom in the telecommunications and energy sectors.
Public works ministry secretary of state Pheng Sovicheano said at the event that Cambodia is faced with a growing population, increasing urbanisation and climate change risks that must be addressed. As the chair of ASEAN this year, the Kingdom is also seeking to strengthen connectivity across borders to expand markets and enhance trade.
“To this end, we need substantial infrastructure investment and development. We welcome the assistance of Australia to build our country’s capacity to plan and deliver inclusive and resilient infrastructure projects for the benefit of all Cambodian people,” he said.
P4I provides “rapid” access to high-caliber experts from Australia, the region, and around the world to improve infrastructure design, financing, and governance, the Australian embassy’s press release said.
It also supports the formation of new partnerships among Australian and Cambodian government infrastructure entities to share knowledge and further develop the two countries’ people-to-people links.