PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – This year marks the 20th anniversary of cooperation between Cambodia and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a partnership that has made a significant contribution to shaping the country’s economic development.
“Cambodia is forging a place for itself as one of the world’s most successful post-conflict performers. More than half of the population was living below the poverty line in 1992, but that proportion has fallen to less than one-quarter,” ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said at the 20th anniversary commemoration, which was marked with the publication of a book.
Since 1992, ADB has provided almost $2 billion to Cambodia, including concessional loans and development assistance for transport, energy, urban and rural development, education and vocational training, health care, the finance sector, and private sector development.
With this assistance, the government has rehabilitated or built 4,000 kilometers of national highways and provincial and rural roads; 350 primary schools in remote areas; more than 355 secondary schools across the country; and 700 commune council buildings. ADB finance has supported training of more than 20,000 commune councilors; delivered electricity to more than 60,000 households; and supplied more than half a million people with safe water and nearly a quarter of a million people with improved sanitation.
ADB has helped to strengthen banks and microfinance institutions with better regulations and enabled more than 36,000 Cambodians to open microfinance accounts and take out loans. To help the private sector to grow, ADB has assisted Cambodia in streamlining regulations that make business registration easier and less expensive.
Cambodia has also benefited from being actively involved in the Greater Mekong Subregion Program, which links Cambodia with neighboring countries in areas such as power supply, infectious disease control, tourism, and cross border transport and trade facilitation.
These activities contributed to the 8% average annual increase in Cambodia’s GDP from 1993 to 2011. During the same period, per capita annual income rose steadily from about $200 to almost $1,000.
ADB’s current Country Partnership Strategy supports the government’s development plans through investments in public-private partnership activities, urban development and climate change, as well as five priority sectors, including transport, water supply, agriculture and natural resources, education, and finance.