Canada on Monday inaugurated an aid agency office in Cambodia, an indication that the Canadian government is expanding its programs in the country.
The Canadian International Development Agency now will oversee Canada’s projects from its office on Norodom Boulevard, near Independence Monument.
The decision to step up activities was prompted by the Cambodian government’s eagerness to improve good governance, said Hau Sing Tse, CIDA vice president for Asia.
“Cambodia is prepared to [face] governance issues….It’s very attractive to us.”
In addition to existing programs, Canada plans to launch a series of programs through bilateral agreements with Cambodia, said Bob Johnston, director for Cambodia at CIDA’s Asia Branch.
They will include a program to help the National Assembly and Senate to develop tools such as legislative research. The five-year, $3-million program should be in place by December, said Johnston.
Another project will consist of surveying Cambodia to determine how much land remains to be demined.
A Canadian team due to arrive next month will recruit up to 90 Cambodians through the Cambodia Mine Action Center, Johnston said. The survey should take between 15 to 18 months and will have a budget of about $1.3 million, he said.
This survey project will start just a few days after the last Canadian contingent of demining military advisers will have left the country.
Their departure at the end of the month will put an end to seven years of Canadian technical assistance to CMAC, said Michel Verreault, commanding officer for the Canadian contingent.
Among other projects, CIDA is looking at a nutrition program for rural communities, Johnston said.