Cambodia featured heavily in China’s newly released “International Development and Cooperation in the New Era” document.
In its lengthiest White Paper on foreign investments, the Chinese State Council Information Office document outlined investments made in key sectors of Cambodia’s economy, most notably in road and air transportation, energy, agricultural and healthcare.
While lacking figures and specific projects for the Kingdom, the White Paper reported a total of $41,773,595,500 had been allocated globally via grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans. Concessional loans accounted for 48.52 percent of Chinese foreign investments, according to the document, while another 47.3 percent were issued as grants and the remaining 4.18 percent was issued in the form of interest-free loans.
China has remained the Kingdom’s leading bilateral development partner since 2010.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) 2018 Budget in Brief reported that China has contributed some $5.8 billion in development assistance to Cambodia – with more than half of the projects involving transportation and energy infrastructure.
According to the MEF, some 48 percent of Chinese loans were offered through interest-free and concessional loans as of 2018.
Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank) is responsible for concessional lending and accounts for most of China’s overseas aid, including $5,583,690 for the expansion of National Road No. 5 in Poipet and a further $59,875, 887 loan for the National Road No. 58 project in Banteay Meanchey province.
China Development Bank (CBD) – the world’s largest development bank and primary funder of the Bridge and Roads Initiative – provided $5.3 billion in loans for 27 projects in Cambodia, including $1.5 billion for Phnom Penh’s proposed new airport and a further $518,358,086 for a hydropower plant in Koh Kong.
As of mid-2019, CBD had provided $5.3 billion in loans for 27 projects in Cambodia. The White Paper described the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road as “a major platform for international development cooperation”.
“China has assisted other developing countries to draw up sound blueprints for growth, dispatching 39 senior planning consultants to a number of countries to help formulate plans, policies and regulations regarding the economy, infrastructure and the power sector.
“[China] sent a team of senior experts in customs, taxation and agriculture to Ethiopia and Cambodia to provide intellectual support for trade and investment facilitation It helped Cambodia to improve its transport system and agricultural productivity by formulating plans for a national road network and modern agriculture,” the White Paper said.
A platform to train technical personnel and an agricultural school in Kratie were among the instruments provided by China to help modernise the Kingdom’s agro-sector.
Cambodia also received aid in the form of maternal and childcare medical infrastructure projects to coincide with the UN’s 70th anniversary.
“When carrying out development cooperation, China emphasises coordination of plans and strategies with partner countries and responds to the priority needs of developing countries for social and economic progress.
“In Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, China launched pilot projects sharing its experience in village-by-village poverty reduction, improving local villages’ organisational ability, encouraging farmers to combine their efforts in agricultural activities and cultivating a new vision for development to [alleviate] poverty,” the White Paper said.