Prime Minister Hun Manet said his six-month tenure saw successful efforts in attracting foreign investors, citing the approval of numerous new projects by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).

Manet made the remarks while meeting with members of the Cambodian diaspora from Australia and New Zealand on the sidelines of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Melbourne, Australia, on March 3.

“Investment in the last six months, from August 2023 to January 2024, during which I aimed to attract investors, resulted in 172 projects approved by the CDC, encompassing both domestic and foreign projects worth nearly $4 billion. These projects, once completed, will create 190,000 jobs for our people,” he stated.

The premier also mentioned that CDC first vice-president Sun Chanthol will soon return to Cambodia to meet with a Chinese investment delegation of about 150 companies, including a tyre manufacturing firm planning to invest over $1 billion.

“At the same time, companies already operating in Cambodia have decided to expand their investment by $200 million to $600 million, owing to their confidence in the government’s ability to maintain political stability. The expansion in financing will further increase job opportunities and incomes for our citizens, marking the sustainability of our efforts over the past six months,” he added.

Manet noted that on March 5, he would engage with the Australian private sector through a business forum involving over 200 companies from Cambodia and Australia, aiming to attract further investment.

“Some people think that Cambodia only attracts Chinese investors, but I welcome investors regardless of their origin. Even if only one or two companies out of a hundred decide to invest, it’s a success. The remaining investment decisions are left to the private sector,” he said.

Regarding the $1.7 billion Funan Techo Canal project, the prime minister highlighted its significance in facilitating waterway transportation from the river to the sea, creating job opportunities and reducing transportation costs.

The construction of the new waterway project is estimated at $1.7 billion and will take approximately four years to complete, as per the CDC.Hong Menea

“One of the major projects we are striving to realise is the [canal], connecting Kampot [province] to the Tonle Bassac River [in Phnom Penh]. 

The project is expected to expedite waterway transportation, make it more affordable and transform the project area into an industrial zone,” he said.

At the Ministry of Public Works and Transport’s annual review and planning meeting on February 29, former transport minister Chanthol urged his successor Peng Ponea to expedite negotiations with the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) for a concession agreement, in order to break ground on the canal.

“This project is a top priority, strongly emphasised by [then-Prime Minister Hun Sen] and [Manet], who are keen to establish a waterway and sea connection regardless of the cost. It’s a significant project, and we aim to discuss and finalise the concession agreement within the next six or seven months so we can initiate the [project],” he said.

According to the CDC, the proposed 180km waterway will link the Prek Ta Ek and Prek Ta Hing canals on the Bassac River to the Prek Takeo canal on the Mekong River, extending to the sea in Kep, traversing four provinces: Kandal (bordering the capital), Takeo, Kampot and Kep.

The waterway is planned to be 100m wide at the top, 80m at the bottom and 5.4m deep, with a navigation depth of 4.7m and a safety gap of 0.7m. It will feature two lanes allowing safe passage of vessels in both directions. 

The construction of the new waterway project is estimated at $1.7 billion and will take approximately four years to complete, as per the CDC.