fbpx ADB's Work in Cambodia | Asian Development Bank

Cambodia and ADB

ADB is supporting Cambodia to become competitive and ensure inclusive development, for the long term, through stronger institutions that promote strategic investments, including in human capital, natural resources, infrastructure and technology.

ADB's Work in Cambodia

ADB Membership

Joined 1966

Shareholding and Voting Power

Number of shares held:
5,250 (0.049% of total shares)

44,364 (0.334% of total membership, 0.512% of total regional membership)

Overall capital subscription:
$72.60 million

Paid-in capital subscription:
$6.06 million

Over the past 20 years, Cambodia has made excellent progress in poverty reduction and human development, on the back of strong growth in agriculture, garment manufacturing, and tourism. The proportion of Cambodians living in poverty fell from 47.8% in 2007 to 13.5% in 2014.

Cambodia's coastal regionCambodia's coastal region

ADB has been supporting Cambodia since 1966 and is the country’s largest multilateral development partner. Cambodia achieved lower middle-income status in 2015 and aims to become an upper middle-income country by 2030. Although around 84% of the population is covered by 3G mobile phone services, many Cambodians remain vulnerable to poverty and gender-related disparities. The country also faces challenges in diversifying its sources of growth, keeping children in school, and managing the impacts of climate change.

Since 1966, ADB has committed loans, grants, and technical assistance totaling $3.8 billion for Cambodia, of which $331.9 million was mobilized from cofinancing sources. Cumulative loan and grant disbursements to Cambodia amount to $2.23 billion.

ADB-Supported Projects and Programs

In 2019, ADB committed $282.15 million in sovereign loans, grants, and technical assistance for Cambodia and catalyzed $39 million in cofinancing. These investments will continue ADB’s valuable development work in the country.

ADB has helped Cambodia achieve significant improvements in electricity distribution by financing 2,387 circuitkilometers of low-voltage transmission lines. The bank has also helped develop a 10-megawatt solar farm at Bavet in Svay Rieng province, and was the transaction adviser for an innovative public– private partnership to construct a new 100-megawatt solar power park.

In transport, ADB’s assistance has focused on enhancement of the Greater Mekong Subregion transport corridor to promote rural development, and private sector growth. The bank contributed to the construction or rehabilitation of 658 kilometers of national and rural roads, and supported periodic maintenance of 767 kilometers of national and provincial roads. These investments have helped reduce travel times and vehicle operating costs across the country. ADB technical assistance has also helped strengthen transport policies and sector planning, and ensure efficient use of resources.

Regional training center in CambodiaThe regional training center is a part of ADB-supported project to improve rural income responded to labor market needs and the demands of business in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

ADB is also helping strengthen science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education at the uppersecondary level while also developing market-oriented technical and vocational education and training. Since 2014, ADB has provided $174.9 million for skills development in Cambodia. These investments have improved the facilities, learning resources, and teaching quality for 500,000 uppersecondary students (40% female) and helped 34,000 students (52.8% female) to enroll in technical and vocational programs.

ADB has been funding investments to strengthen the climate resilience of Cambodia’s agricultural infrastructure; commercialize the production of rice, maize, cassava, and mango; and encourage crop diversification. The bank is also supporting improved crop storage and processing capacity, development of crop testing, and promotion of solar power and bioenergy.

Working with the Royal Government of Cambodia, ADB is financing improvements to water and urban infrastructure services along the Greater Mekong Subregion corridor and around the Tonle Sap Lake, particularly in tourism destinations and border towns. The support also includes communicable disease control in border areas where vulnerable groups, including migrant workers, are concentrated.

A transition to clean energy such as solar can help Cambodia address some of its development challenges.

Through technical assistance, ADB is helping Cambodia update and disseminate standard operating procedures in the areas of project management, financial management, procurement, and safeguards. This helps line ministries and agencies manage projects and programs more effectively, ensure compliance with social and environmental safeguards, and earmark sufficient operational and maintenance resources.

Nonsovereign Operations

As a catalyst for private investments, ADB provides financial assistance to nonsovereign projects and financial intermediaries. Total commitments from ADB’s own funds (in equity and direct loans) in 2019 amounted to $3.00 billion for 38 transactions in economic and social infrastructure, the finance sector, and agribusiness. ADB also actively mobilizes cofinancing from commercial and concessional sources. In 2019, ADB mobilized $3.28 billion of long-term cofinancing and $3.69 billion of cofinancing in trade finance, microfinance, and supply chain finance programs. Total outstanding balances and commitments of nonsovereign transactions funded by ADB’s own resources stood at $13.78 billion as of 31 December 2019.

Financing Partnerships

Financing partnerships enable ADB’s development partners, governments or their agencies, multilateral financing institutions, and commercial organizations to participate in financing ADB projects. The additional funds are provided in the form of loans and grants, technical assistance, and other nonsovereign cofinancing such as B loans, risk transfer arrangements, parallel loans and equity, guarantee cofinancing, and cofinancing for transactions under ADB’s Trade Finance Program and Supply Chain Finance Program.

ADB began cofinancing operations in Cambodia in 1992. Since then, sovereign cofinancing commitments for Cambodia have amounted to $697.51 million for 49 investment projects and $65.24 million for 59 technical assistance projects. Nonsovereign cofinancing for Cambodia has amounted to $31.83 million for three investment projects.

In 2019, ADB secured $19.9 million in cofinancing from Agence Française de Développement to enhance the skills and competitiveness of Cambodia’s industrial labor force, $14 million from the Strategic Climate Fund to support the construction of solar power plants, and $2.6 million from the High-Level Technology Fund to expand rural water supply and sanitation services. The Government of Australia has also indicated provision of $3.1 million in cofinancing to help Cambodia improve water resource management and build climate change resilience.

Projects Cofinanced, 1 January 2014–31 December 2018

Operational Challenges

Cambodian authorities have made improvements in project start-up and implementation, but capacity remains limited at the subnational level and among agencies that have not previously engaged with development partners. Changes in the price, availability, and use of land in Cambodia present challenges to ADB operations, while appropriate pricing of services and asset management is needed to ensure the long-term impact and sustainability of infrastructure projects.

To foster closer collaboration with the government, ADB has relocated staff to its Cambodia Resident Mission to enhance forward planning and encourage dialogue on operational issues.

To ensure closer and faster interactions with the government and other stakeholders, ADB has delegated projects and relocated staff to the ADB Cambodia Resident Mission.

Future Directions

In October 2019, ADB endorsed a new 5-year country partnership strategy for Cambodia, aligning objectives with the country’s Industrial Development Plan, 2016–2025 and the Rectangular Strategy, Phase IV, 2019–2023. Under the partnership strategy, ADB will work to accelerate Cambodia’s competitiveness and economic diversification; strengthen human capital and lifelong learning; foster green, sustainable, and inclusive development; and improve governance.

ADB's Country Partnership Strategy with Cambodia for 2019–2023 supports the country's ongoing transition through investments, technical assistance, knowledge and policy advice.

ADB has programmed $895 million for new investments across 2020–2022. Sectors targeted for investment are agriculture, natural resources, and rural development; water and other urban infrastructure and services; transport; education; and energy.

Through advanced knowledge work, ADB will facilitate evidence-based policy dialogue by collaborating with development partners and engaging with the private sector and civil society in Cambodia. ADB-financed technical advisers will work with the government to promote cross-sector planning and support innovation, particularly embracing the opportunity for Cambodia to become a digital economy.

This article was originally published in the ADB and Cambodia: Fact Sheet. Updated yearly, this ADB Fact Sheet provides concise information on ADB's operations in the country and contact information.

Latest on Cambodia

How governments can use tax policy to speed pandemic recovery

25 Feb 2021 | Blog Entry

How governments can use tax policy to speed pandemic recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic has created opportunities for a fairer, more robust and more efficient tax revenue and spending system.

For Southeast Asian employers, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a chance to create jobs

11 Feb 2021 | Blog Entry

For Southeast Asian employers, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a chance to create jobs

Companies deploying Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, and investing in reskilling and upskilling for digital occupations, are likely to recover faster from the impact of the pandemic.

Despite the pandemic, remittances have kept flowing home to Asia’s families

08 Feb 2021 | Blog Entry

Despite the pandemic, remittances have kept flowing home to Asia’s families

Strong remittance inflows should be used as an opportunity to strengthen the systems that help overseas workers and their families back at home.

Industry 4.0 Could Have Transformational Impact on Skills and Jobs in Cambodia — ADB Study

20 Jan 2021 | News Release

Industry 4.0 Could Have Transformational Impact on Skills and Jobs in Cambodia — ADB Study

Cambodia should consider developing industry transformation maps in key sectors to enable the transition to the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) with adequate investment in skills development for new and repositioned jobs.