Cambodia and ADB
ADB helps Cambodia address challenges for post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery with a focus on economic diversification, skill development, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
On 16 March, Ministry of Mines and Energy and ADB jointly hosted an Energy Forum in Phnom Penh to disseminate the recently adopted Power Development Masterplan and National Energy Efficiency Policy, both prepared under ADB technical assistance. Cambodia Minister of Mines and Energy Excellency Suy Sem opened the forum emphasizing their significance to drive Cambodia’s energy transition and meet international commitments under the Paris Agreement, while Minister of Environment Excellency Say Samal highlighted their importance in supporting Cambodia’s targets to achieve its Long-Term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality. Representing the ADB team at the forum, Head of Portfolio Administration Unit at ADB Cambodia Resident Mission Anthony Gill recognized Cambodia's efforts in shifting to cleaner forms of energy and reiterated ADB's support for energy transition through a combination of policy support and project investments. Among these, ADB’s ongoing projects for reinforcement of the national power grid, expansion of solar PV through Public Private Partnerships, and support to accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies such as battery storage systems. The Forum was attended by 80 representatives of national government institutions, international development organizations, NGOs, and the private sector.
On 16 March, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), and ADB co-chaired a sector policy dialogue in the areas of skills development, education, energy, and agriculture. Minister Attached to the Prime Minister and Permanent Secretary of State at MEF, and ADB Alternate Governor for Cambodia Excellency Vongsey Vissoth opened the dialogue recognizing ADB’s role as the country’s lead development partner. He highlighted Cambodia’s growth and recovery from the adverse effects of the pandemic, outlined the threats posed by climate change and geopolitical shifts, and called on ADB and other stakeholders for policy inputs to inform Cambodia’s new national development strategy 2024-2028, or the ‘Pentagon Strategy – Phase 1’. ADB Country Director for Cambodia Jyotsana Varma and ADB sector teams presented sector-specific recommendations including leveraging the private sector’s expertise to meet development needs, prioritizing investments for human capital development, and scaling up climate mitigation and adaptation investments, including for the green energy transition and new technologies. The need for the strategy to continue strengthening governance, institutional capacity, and gender mainstreaming, especially through digitalization and innovation, was highlighted. Over 150 officials from various government Ministries and agencies, development partners, private sector associations, and academia attended the policy dialogue.
On 13-14 March, ADB and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) gathered over 80 Cambodia executing agency and implementing agency officials for a Loan and Grant Disbursement Seminar and Client Portal for Disbursements (CPD) workshop in Phnom Penh. MEF Under Secretary of State Excellency Pen Thirong opened the seminar by appreciating ADB’s huge contribution to Cambodia’s development. He was positive that the capacity-building session will ensure timely disbursement processing for project implementation. On behalf of the ADB team, Anthony Gill Portfolio Administration Unit Head at ADB Cambodia Resident Mission underlined the critical role of all implementers of ADB-supported projects in shaping the development of Cambodia. ADB Senior Financial Control Specialist Oliver Domagas led the seminar with discussion on the updated disbursement policies, procedures, and guidelines which aimed to further improve participants’ understanding to achieve more efficient disbursement operations of the projects.
On 27 February 2023, ADB supported the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS) to gather 400 policymakers, experts, academia, schoolteachers, civil society, and private sector stakeholders to discuss Digital Education Transformation Towards a Digital Economy. MoEYS Minister Hang Chuon Naron welcomed the timely discussion and outlined the steps being taken to strengthen teaching and learning through digital media. These initial measures were put in place to contain learning losses during the pandemic, and are now being refocused to effect the transformation towards a digital economy. CD CARM Jyotsana Varma emphasized the role of new technologies in reshaping the labor market with increasing industry demand for a workforce equipped with digital skills and competencies. ADB is supporting Cambodia to realize its potential to develop and implement the EdTech ecosystem to provide equitable, efficient, and enduring education to prepare students for meaningful jobs in the future economy.
On 23-24 February, ADB organized an in-person workshop on Strengthening Property Tax Management to Enhance Local Revenue to share the outcome of the diagnostic studies with policy and administrative recommendations that include the establishment of uniform property valuation standard and streamlined collection process; gather feedback on the studies from the key stakeholders; and discuss next steps to implement the recommendations. In her opening remarks, ADB Country Director for Cambodia Jyotsana Varma noted while overall tax revenues in the country are high, revenues from immovable property and unused land taxes remain low. She underscored their importance as revenue sources for local governments to support the realization of sustainable development goals and accelerate post-pandemic recovery. Twenty-seven senior officials from the Ministries of Economy and Finance and Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction; National Bank of Cambodia; and National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development and ADB staff attended the workshop.
On 23-24 February 2023, the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and ADB hosted a study visit of delegations from the Central Bank of Solomon Islands led by its Governor Excellency Luke Forau and the Reserve Bank of Fiji led by its Deputy Governor Excellency Esala Masitabua. During the visit, the two delegation heads inked Memorandums of Understanding on Technical Cooperation with NBC Governor Excellency Chea Chanto for financial system development to promote more efficient and secure cross-border transactions and financial innovation in their markets. NBC showcased their innovative and popular peer-to-peer payment system called Bakong, based on distributed ledger technology, which facilitates cashless transactions between retail customers of local banks and payment services providers. ADB Country Director for Cambodia Jyotsana Varma underscored the partnership between ADB and NBC in providing access to formal financial services for the poor, strengthening financial stability, and supporting financial infrastructure in Cambodia. She hoped that knowledge-sharing will help the visiting delegations in refining their financial sector development strategies and promoting inclusion.
On 20 February, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and ADB co-chaired a Joint Country Portfolio Performance Review 2021-2022 with implementing agencies in collaboration with eight other key development partners (Agence Française de Développement, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, European Investment Bank, Export-Import Bank of Korea, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Japan International Cooperation Agency, KfW Development Bank, and the World Bank). MEF Under Secretary of State Excellency Pen Thirong opened the event by reaffirming the government’s strong commitment in cooperating with development partners for effective mobilization, coordination, and management of development assistance. ADB Country Director for Cambodia Resident Mission Jyotsana Varma encouraged participants to reflect on lessons learned from the review to apply them in developing the 2023 joint action plan, especially to improve advance actions in project preparation, and ensure quality implementation. More than 300 officials from government agencies, ADB, and other development partners participated in focused discussions in thematic groups on project management, procurement, financial management, and environmental and social safeguards. A Joint Action Plan supported by an MOU will be developed and signed in the coming weeks.
On 17 February, ADB signed an MoU with Ministry of Justice to operationalize the country's first commercial court. Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Justice Minister Excellency Koeut Rith expressed his deep appreciation for ADB's support, saying that the MoU marks an important step towards the development of efficient, fair, and effective commercial court procedures, and training of judges of the Royal Academy of Judicial Professions who will adjudicate commercial disputes. Country Director for ADB Cambodia Resident Mission Jyotsana Varma underscored that commercial courts will help Cambodia attract and retain high-quality investment by fostering a business climate that operates in a clear and predictable legal framework, with a reliable, efficient and transparent dispute resolution system.
On 17 February, ADB delivered social and environmental safeguards training to Cambodian government officials implementing ADB projects. Addressing the one-day virtual training, Excellency Samrith Chhuon Director General in the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) highlighted the need to ensure timeliness and quality in project implementation and reduce potential risks. ADB Country Director for Cambodia Resident Mission Jyotsana Varma stressed the importance of social and environmental safeguards in ADB projects to achieve equitable and sustainable development. The training is an agreed action under the Joint Country Portfolio Performance Review with MEF and other development partners. Over 180 officials from various Ministries and government agencies participated.
On 13 February, ADB supported the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) to deliver project contract management training as agreed under the 2018-2020 Joint Country Portfolio Performance Review and the 2022 Semi-Annual Portfolio Performance Review. Excellency Samrith Chhuon, Director General of MEF General Department of International Cooperation and Debt Management, and Head of Portfolio Administration Unit of ADB Cambodia Resident Mission Anthony Gill co-chaired the one-day virtual training. It equipped participants with knowledge and skills to identify risks during contract implementation, monitor contract execution, prepare contract monitoring reports, and evaluate the performance of contractors and consultants to deliver more value of money and positively impact project outcomes. Over 140 government officials involved in executing and implementing ADB-supported projects and ADB staff joined the event.
| Blog Entry
Cambodia is about to graduate from least developed country status. It should accelerate trade reforms to address the challenges its new status will bring.
Fintech play a critical role in addressing problems that impede inclusive growth, such as economic inequality.
| News Release
ASEAN members must shift from meeting basic development targets to ramping up efforts to improve quality of life across the region to build a resilient ASEAN and yield a faster recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, says a new ADB report.
This report uses a broad range of indicators to assess the individual and collective development progress made by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).