Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - BRI projects help the Kingdom to cushion economic fallout during Covid-19 pandemic



BRI projects help the Kingdom to cushion economic fallout during Covid-19 pandemic

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway. SUPPLIED

BRI projects help the Kingdom to cushion economic fallout during Covid-19 pandemic

Projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have been helping buffer Cambodia’s economic development against the fallout of Covid-19, officials and academics said in recent interviews.

Cambodian government chief spokesman Phay Siphan said BRI projects like the construction of the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway, the new Siem Reap international airport, the national stadium, and the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ), among others, have provided tremendous benefits to Cambodia’s economic development during the pandemic.

Despite the impacts of Covid-19, construction of mega projects like the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway and the 700-megawatt power plant in Sihanoukville has made headway steadily, promoting Cambodia’s economic development, he said, adding that when completed those projects will play a very important role in helping boost Cambodia’s economy in the post-pandemic era.

“The SSEZ has importantly contributed to supporting the country’s exports, and all hydropower plants have supplied stable electricity, which is crucial to ensure the normality of people’s daily lives and businesses,” he told Xinhua.

Since its inception in 2013, the BRI is becoming the new engine of global economic growth, Siphan said, adding that it has importantly contributed to boosting regional and global cooperation in terms of hard and soft infrastructures, economy, trades, investment opportunities, cultural exchange, and people-to-people connectivity.

Cambodia’s economic growth is expected to rebound by 2.5 per cent this year after experiencing a contraction of minus 1.9 per cent last year, according to the government’s latest forecast.

Neak Chandarith, director of the Cambodia 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Research Center, said the BRI projects have played a stabilising role in anchoring economic development in Cambodia during the pandemic, while there are disruptions elsewhere.

He said, according to an operator’s report, the SSEZ saw a rise of 44.51 per cent year-on-year in the value of imports and exports reaching $1.185 billion in the first seven months of this year.

Meanwhile, the construction of the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway, which is expected to be completed on schedule despite the pandemic, has created thousands of jobs for Cambodians.

“The expressway will reduce travel time and costs, and improve the logistics connectivity between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville to the world, thus fuelling faster economic growth and alleviation of poverty in the country.

“These BRI projects will be the significant contributors to Cambodia’s economic development in the post-Covid-19 recovery, as well as to the integration of the Cambodian economy with other economies of the world,” Chandarith told Xinhua.

Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the BRI projects are excellent opportunities for Cambodia and it is a right development train for Cambodia to board.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Lower Sesan II Dam. SUPPLIED

He said the development of infrastructure such as roads, rails, airports, seaports, hydropower plants, and special economic or industrial zones under BRI are key in reducing logistics costs in the Kingdom, enhancing economic competitiveness, and diversifying sources of growth.

“BRI also strengthens the economic performance of Cambodia. During and post-Covid-19, BRI projects will play more important role in Cambodia’s economic development,” Phea said.

He suggested that China continue to help infrastructure development in Cambodia so as to improve its logistics and cost competitiveness for the next stage of development.

He added that human capital development and technology transfers are equally important areas of cooperation for Cambodia to realise its inclusive development goals.

Proposed in 2013, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (BRI) aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa on and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.

Mao Pengfei and Nguon Sovan

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Aeon, Micromax partner again for third mall

    AEON Mall (Cambodia) Co Ltd and a locally-owned Micromax Co Ltd have entered into a partnership agreement to develop fibre optic infrastructure for $200 million Aeon Mall 3, which is expected to be opened in 2023. The agreement was signed on June 20 between Masayuki Tsuboya, managing director of