PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today unveiled its new three-year rolling Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) for 2013-2015, which marks ADB’s strategic focus in Cambodia towards urbanization of secondary towns, urban-rural linkages, economic corridor development, climate change, and private sector development.
“The Country Operations Business Plan lays out the areas that we will emphasize as we work to reduce poverty, stimulate more efficient and inclusive growth, and address major environmental challenges,” said Eric Sidgwick, ADB Country Director for Cambodia.
The three-year indicative assistance pipeline comprises Asian Development Fund concessional loans of $491 million to both firm national and regional projects and programs, and $34.78 million in grants for national and regional technical assistance. The pipeline targets the mobilization of $260.3 million in cofinancing from external sources.
This will support 14 national and five regional projects and programs, including projects to commercialize rice production, improve provincial and rural roads, rehabilitate irrigation systems, develop towns along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) corridors, inject climate change mitigation activities into projects, and strengthen public-private partnerships.
The recently endorsed COBP is fully consistent with the ADB Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Cambodia, 2011-2013, which targets transport (rural and provincial roads), water supply, sanitation and urban development, agriculture and natural resources (agriculture commercialization and irrigation support), education (lower secondary schools and vocational training), and finance (banking regulation, SME finance, and microfinance), supported by ongoing activities in public sector management (public financial management, and deconcentration and decentralization).
Moving forward, ADB will work to manage the challenges of rapid urbanization and provide basic services and infrastructure to meet the needs of the poor and stimulate growth in value chains. Rural-urban linkages will be strengthened by addressing key infrastructure weaknesses, which should lead to increased job opportunities and incomes in secondary towns and rural areas, and provide alternatives to Phnom Penh as a destination for rural migrants.
The ADB-supported GMS program will also continue to build the foundations of economic corridor development, through transport and trade facilitation initiatives, as well as support to national, regional and global value chains in agro-industry, light manufacturing, and tourism.
Since future economic growth depends on the sustainable management of Cambodia’s natural resources, ADB will continue resource conservation activities in the Tonle Sap basin and explicitly address climate change challenges in project design.
In addition, ADB will focus on increasing the country’s competitiveness and developing public-private partnerships to improve access to services, increase employment opportunities, and alleviate urban poverty.