The US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the continuation of its support for Cambodia’s socio-economic development after reaching the 10-year mark for its programme. USAID claims to have helped more than 230,000 Cambodian farmers and their families escape hunger and poverty.

USAID representative Nancy Eslick told The Post on November 4 that the announcement coincided with the 60th anniversary of USAID, which was established to contribute to the development of partner countries around the world.

Eslick added that through agricultural and environmental programmes, Cambodia’s local communities have improved their business practices, enhanced their livelihoods and increased their household incomes.

As a result, Eslick said, these rural communities have generated an additional $90 million for Cambodia’s economy.

“We reflect on our commitment to inclusive development and our obligation not to leave anyone behind in our development work,” she said.

Eslick told The Post on November 4 that USAID had implemented projects in all 25 Cambodian capital and provinces over the past decade and that USAID had worked with local and international partners to implement programmes that benefit all Cambodians.

She added that USAID’s work tackled a broad range of issues and priorities like strengthening civil society and protecting human rights; improving health and nutrition; supporting education and child development; increasing agricultural production and food security; conserving forests and watersheds; and helping farmers and households adapt to and mitigate the impact of natural hazards.

She continued that the global pandemic has presented some new challenges but the US government, through USAID, would continue to help Cambodia with various programmes.

“Our vision for Cambodia is a more prosperous, democratic and independent country where all voices are heard and respected and the Kingdom’s sovereignty stays protected,” Eslick said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan welcomed the commitment and efforts of USAID given that it is the US government’s primary international aid agency and said the contributions it makes to the development of Cambodia were helping to lift people out of poverty.

He added that the position of the Cambodian government was to facilitate the continuation of all USAID programmes, which assist the government in supporting development to lift people out of poverty, as well as supporting the education, agriculture and trading sectors.

“USAID is part of the US government and despite occasional disagreements, we’ve always maintained positive and productive relations for the past three decades.

“USAID will continue to work closely with us on developing all economic and social sectors. The government welcomes all cooperative efforts because we need to make sure that everyone working to help Cambodia is pulling in the same direction and not pursuing contradictory plans or policies,” he said.