ADB Provides $117 Million for Rural Development, Govt Reform

The government signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank on Friday to receive $117 million in loans and grants for four development projects, $68 million of which is reserved for developing rural roads and improving water management in provinces around the Tonle Sap lake, the ADB announced last week.

In a statement on Friday, the ADB said it would provide $35 million to develop 505 km of road in seven provinces located in the Tonle Sap Basin, home to many of the country’s rural poor, in order to improve linkages between rural and urban areas.

Another $33 million will help improve government water management and upgrading irrigation systems, including 15,000 hectares of small and medium-sized irrigation schemes in Kompong Thom, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap provinces, ADB said.

Around $25 million will go to improving public financial management at the Ministries of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Resources, the ADB said, while another $24 million is reserved for implementing government reforms and measures regarding trade, food safety and the tourism, construction and garment sectors.

Kunio Senga, the Bank’s director-general for Southeast Asia, said the projects “will help reduce poverty in Cambodia through better water resources management to ensure food security, reliable road access to markets, sound public financial management, and diversification of the narrow-based economy.”

Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture director Yang Saing Koma welcomed the rural development projects but said it was important that communities and local authorities be trained and made responsible for maintenance and management of the infrastructure after completion.

“A lot of road and irrigation schemes were built in Cambodia…[but] after construction it cannot last a long time because there is no local structure in place to take care of it,” he said.

Veng Sakhon, secretary of state at the Water Resources Ministry, said the ADB projects would include preparing for local management of the schemes.

“They will consider what kind of things can be given to local people to manage and what should be handled by the provincial water resource departments,” he said.


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