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.
Cambodia’s economy rebounded to 5.2% in 2022 with the gradual recovery of the services sector, after the contraction of 3% in 2020—the first in decades—due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Given Cambodia’s reliance on imported fuel, increases in global fuel and fertilizer prices have resulted in a historically high inflation rate of 5% in 2022.
Cambodia’s economic growth averaged over 7% per annum in the decade before the pandemic, making Cambodia one of the fastest-growing economies in the region. This robust growth was underpinned by macroeconomic stability, openness to trade and foreign direct investment, and structural transformation led by export-oriented manufacturing such as garments, footwear, and travel goods, as well as other manufactured products.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is one of the country’s largest sources of official development assistance, with average annual lending of $368.3 million in 2018–2022. The bank’s support is aligned with Cambodia’s National Strategic Development Plan, 2019–2023 and Strategic Framework and Programs for Economic Recovery in the Context of Living with COVID-19 in a New Normal, 2021–2023.
To date, ADB has committed 331 public sector loans, grants, and technical assistance totaling $4.6 billion to Cambodia. Cumulative loan and grant disbursements to Cambodia amount to $3.09 billion. These were financed by regular and concessional ordinary capital resources, the Asian Development Fund, and other special funds. ADB’s ongoing sovereign portfolio in Cambodia includes 38 loans and 9 grants worth $2.01 billion.
ADB assisted the Government of Cambodia in its immediate and medium-term response to the pandemic. In 2022, ADB committed $373 million in lending to support Cambodia’s efforts to strengthen its healthcare system, including providing better access to affordable vaccines and wider healthcare coverage for migrant workers; increase focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics in education; improve productivity and climate resilience in marine fisheries and livestock; accelerate sustainable energy transition; and boost Cambodia’s international competitiveness.
ADB also provided a total of $52.25 million in grants, including $12.7 million in cofinancing, to support Cambodia’s commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals, accelerate the clean energy transition, and promote gender equality. In addition, ADB approved over $3.1 million in technical assistance to support policy reforms, capacity development, knowledge work, project preparation, and project implementation in 2022.
Nonsovereign operations. Total outstanding balances and undisbursed commitments of ADB’s nonsovereign transactions in Cambodia as of 31 December 2022 was $82.22 million representing 0.64% of ADB’s total private sector portfolio.
Operational challenges. ADB awarded more than $220 million worth of contracts to national and international firms in 2022 and disbursed more than $250 million in the delivery of project loans, grants, and technical assistance. The contracts were awarded through an open competitive bidding process. ADB is working closely with the government and other development partners to improve the performance of project implementation to deliver benefits to Cambodians more efficiently and effectively. In doing so, ADB strengthens the government’s capacity in project implementation, environmental and social safeguards, and climate change mitigation and adaptation in all publicly financed projects.
ADB produced several publications and organized knowledge events in collaboration with government institutions and development partners to meet knowledge needs in Cambodia. The Green Bond Market Survey for Cambodia: Insights on the Perspectives of Institutional Investors and Underwriters provides an overview of institutional investors’ interest in green bonds issued in the country and assesses the perspectives of local arrangers and underwriters on their clients’ interest in green bond issuances. STEM and Education Technology in Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Uzbekistan: A Synthesis Report analyzes the state of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education (STEM) and education technology (EdTech) in the general education subsector of Cambodia and other developing member countries. ADB also copublished with the government a report on Population Distribution and Urbanization.
ADB jointly organized with the Ministry of Mines and Energy a forum to share best practices from Cambodia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in support of energy transition. A symposium organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice will help the government establish separate specialized commercial courts in Cambodia. ADB partnered with the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, a leading think tank, to facilitate easier access to ADB research and publications for stakeholders.
Number of Shares Held
5,250 (0.05% of total shares)
44,364 (0.33% of total membership, 0.51% of total regional membership)
*Overall capital subscription
*Paid-in capital subscription
* United States dollar figures are valued at rate as of 31 December 2022.
ADB Governor: Aun Pornmoniroth
ADB Alternate Governor: Vongsey Vissoth
ADB Director: Rachel Thompson (Australia)
ADB Alternate Director: David Cavanough (Australia)
ADB Director’s Advisor: Sophak Chea (Cambodia)
Financing partnerships enable ADB’s financing partner governments or their agencies, multilateral financing institutions, and private organizations to participate in financing ADB projects. The additional funds provided may be in the form of loans and grants, technical assistance, and nonsovereign cofinancing.
Cumulative cofinancing commitments in Cambodia:
In 2022, Cambodia received a total of $151 million loan cofinancing from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Agence Française de Développement, the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund, the Green Climate Fund, and the Strategic Climate Fund for four projects, and a total of $11.8 million grant cofinancing from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, the Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific, and the Strategic Climate Fund for three projects.
ADB’s operations will focus on providing integrated, multisector solutions that aim to maximize development impacts and tackle Cambodia’s challenges, including lack of economic diversification, especially in the context of its upcoming graduation from least developed country categorization. Operations will also address the country’s increased vulnerabilities to climate change. Investments in skills and education, public sector management, and trade and industry will remain priorities for enhancing Cambodia’s international competitiveness and ability to attract foreign direct investment and promote economic diversification. ADB is committed to scaling up climate change solutions and to helping deploy climate-smart technologies to improve productivity and sustainability of the agriculture, fishery, and livestock sectors for commercialization. More investments in sustainable and green urban infrastructure for smart and livable cities, water and sanitation in rural areas, and clean and efficient energy transition will be actively pursued. A new country partnership strategy for Cambodia, 2024–2028, is being prepared.
Cambodia’s economic growth in 2023 will be slightly lower than earlier forecast, down to 5.3% from 5.5%, mainly due to slower-than-expected industry growth in the first half, according to an update to ADB's flagship economic report launched today. The ADB report maintained the country’s 2024 growth forecast at 6.0%.
In tourist hubs and border towns of Cambodia and Thailand, families were hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. To address this crisis, ADB contracted local-based civil society organization, Mith Samlanh to implement a project which provided support and assistance to these communities.
ADB has approved a $100 million loan to help boost the caliber of Cambodia’s labor force by addressing skills gaps and shortages. This will be done through reforms and investments in technical and vocational education and training combined with private sector participation.
ADB has approved a $40 million policy-based loan to support the Government of Cambodia’s efforts to further enhance public service delivery by local administrations through a series of reforms in public finance and decentralization.