Upon starting my posting in Cambodia as Ambassador in June 2017, I was profoundly impressed by the strength and depth of the relationship between France and Cambodia. Since then, I’ve strived to strengthen our bond further and France stands alongside Cambodia for a harmonious and inclusive development of the Kingdom.
Our relation is strong economically as it went over the one-billion-dollar mark in 2017. Major companies like VINCI, TOTAL or more recently BRED, PERNOD RICARD or DECATHLON invest in the Kingdom and contribute directly to its growth.
In 25 years, over 500 million USD were allocated by our development agency, Agence Française de développement or AFD, in order to support the quality growth of Cambodia.
Nowadays, with a contribution of around 100 million USD a year, the AFD is involved in the following priority sectors, water management and sanitation, electricity, agriculture and vocational training.
Supporting Cambodia’s development also means higher education for the Cambodians. This is one of our main focuses.
France is the 3rd country of destination for Cambodian people who want to study abroad. But there are also many ways to study “à la française” in Cambodia itself, thanks to our higher education cooperation. We are proud and grateful that so many Cambodian youngsters turn to France to be trained.
If we turn to cultural cooperation, our ties are strong and steeped in history. This year, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the creation of the ICC Angkor (International Coordinating Committee for the safeguarding and development of the historic site of Angkor).
The ICC was created after the registration of Angkor as a UNESCO world heritage site, thanks to the support of France, and to this day, it is presided over by France and Japan.
We now strive to preserve the past in order for the Cambodians and international tourists of today and tomorrow to enjoy the extraordinary beauty of the temples in a sustainable way.
Our cultural cooperation does not stop at heritage. It covers as well more contemporary Cambodian artists showcased at the French Institute or at the Embassy.
So many Cambodians, including many of those artists, spent time studying in France. Today, they are the bridge between our two nations as they brought back to Cambodia a piece of France.
The deep ties between our people make France and Cambodia’s relationship unique. They are the backbone of our economic and cultural bond. Together, we are building a true partnership between our two countries.
I wish everyone a happy celebration of Bastille Day. Our national day is an opportunity to reflect on our values and I would like to recall the beautiful words of the French motto: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.
Vive la France et vive le Cambodge!
I’ll conclude on a football note as this is the time of the FIFA Football World Cup in Russia: Allez les Bleus !