Social analysts and historians see that the construction of a bridge from Phnom Penh to Kandal province as a sign of Cambodia's growth.
Meas Ny, a social development researcher, said that when compared to the past, Cambodia’s development has been rapid.
He believes that the construction of the Phnom Penh-Areyksat Bridge which connects Phnom Penh to Kandal province will improve traffic flow in the city.
He added that an increased economic infrastructure will help stimulate economic growth in Cambodia in the future.
One of his concerns was that funding came from foreign loans. This year, the Kingdom’s debt has increased substantially.
“There are both congratulations and concerns. Due to a growth in borrowing, both public and foreign, debt has increased to more than two billion dollars,” he said.
“However, we recognise that this is not at high-risk levels yet. As long as our economy is remains robust, it is acceptable. It may become an issue if we continue to borrow and do not focus on the domestic economy,” he added.
He said that in order to prevent this from happening, the government must also examine the land crisis. In some cases, when large developments are made, the people do not benefit equally, with land occupants and those evicted from development land not receiving adequate compensation.
“The expansion of the Kingdom’s economic infrastructure is not certain to bring back social equity, and this is something the government must consider,” he continued.
Cambodian historian Sambo Manara also said that the construction of the bridge represents much needed development in Phnom Penh, because the capital has grown significantly.
He added that the bridge will not just facilitate people’s travel from Areyksat to Phnom Penh. It will also provide economic benefits, as it will allow for an increase in the transport of goods in both directions.
“All of these points indicate the clear consideration of the people’s wellbeing by the Kingdom’s leadership. In addition, if development takes place in the Lvea Em area, land in that location will increase in price and a new economic artery will develop,” he said.
Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath agreed, saying the bridge will highlight the development and growth of Cambodia, while also saving travel time.
“This bridge will contribute to the growth of the national economy, by bringing agricultural products and other goods closer to markets and increasing national capital,” he added.
He explained that an increase in national capital refers to resources, including roads, schools, etc. If capital increases, Cambodia will be further developed by both the government and the private sector.
The bridge from Phnom Penh to Kandal will be built from around the night market and will span the Tonle Sap River to Chroy Changvar and then across the Mekong to Areyksat. Construction will cost almost $250 million, and has been financed by loans from South Korea.