World Bank Delegation Meets With Hun Sen

A World Bank delegation met with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday to discuss the government’s progress on reforms, officials said.

Eang Sophall Eth, deputy cabinet chief for the prime minister, described the meeting as a courtesy visit by the World Bank delegation, which included Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, country director for the Southeast Asia and Mon­golia unit.

“They talked about the general progress of reforms,” Eang So­phall Eth said. “We also said that we appreciate the World Bank’s help.”

Bonaventure Mbida-Essama, acting chief of the World Bank office in Cambodia, said the delegation also briefed Hun Sen on the lending institution’s mission here.

“We talked about land issues, governance, rural development, infrastructure,” Mbida-Essama said. “We were just sharing our views.”

The delegation is in town for a 10-day visit to discuss the World Bank’s assistance strategy for 2000-2003.

World Bank officials also will participate in the quarterly meeting of donors and government officials on Wednesday.

The World Bank is considering providing $40 million in assistance to Cambodia, but more could be given if the government makes significant progress on re­forms. A funding decision isn’t ex­pected to be made until early next year.

Hun Sen also was congratulated by the delegation on the Inter­national Monetary Fund’s decision Friday to resume its assistance to Cambodia by approving an $81.6 million loan to be disbursed over three years.

“That was a major development,” said Mbida-Essama, ad­ding that Hun Sen has worked hard on reforms.

The World Bank delegation

al­so met with NGOs in an all-day meet­ing Monday to get feedback from aid groups about how to best assist Cambodia and what problems remain.

Thun Saray, president of the hu­man rights group Adhoc, recommended that the World Bank establish a working group in Cam­bodia to strengthen the rule of law.

“The government has made some progress, but it’s still weak,” he said. “Everybody knows about corruption here.”

NGOs also commented on land issues, rural development, health care, government debt and urban issues.

Health care NGOs said Cam­bo­­dia needs to strengthen the rule of law, reform the public ad­ministration and establish a mech­anism to counterbalance the logic of “the more you cheat, the more you gain.”

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