The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday endorsed a new five-year country partnership strategy (CPS), laying out its support for Cambodia’s goal of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2030.
Under the 2019–2023 strategy, ADB will provide $1.45 billion in loans, grants, and technical assistance for agriculture and natural resources management, improving urban and rural living conditions and renewable energy infrastructure, and the development of human resources.
“Supporting public sector reforms and improving institutional capacity will remain at the core of ADB’s programme. These initiatives aim to improve the access to and the quality of services for Cambodians, as well as the business environment,” said ADB.
ADB country director Sunniya Durrani-Jamal said the new strategy supports the government’s goals of increasing competitiveness and diversifying the sources of growth, fostering sustainable and inclusive development, building climate resilience, and accelerating governance reforms.
“Cambodia’s economy expanded 8 percent on average from 1999 to 2018, making it one of the fastest-growing countries in the world. Gross national income per capita rose from $290 in 1998 to $1,380 in 2018,” she noted.
However, she said challenges remain, including poverty among women-headed households.
Ms Durrani-Jamal said social protection is limited and gains in health and education, among other human development aspects, remain fragile. Access to sanitation remains below the average for lower-middle-income countries.
She said Cambodia faces an uncertain global trading environment and increased competition in the region. Efforts to diversify the economy into services and manufacturing have been constrained by a lack of skilled workers, gaps in energy infrastructure and logistics, and opaque business processes.
“The CPS will help create better job opportunities for Cambodians by investing in their education, skills, and lifelong learning. Given Cambodia’s young population, expanding the use of digital technologies and capitalising on innovations lies at the heart of our country partnership strategy,” said Ms Durrani-Jamal.
“Enhancing women’s potential and leadership, particularly in the public sector, and protecting Cambodia’s vast natural resources are crucial to the next phase of the country’s development.”