The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) board of directors last week approved a $70 million loan aimed at creating a more efficient, safer and disaster-resilient transport sector in Cambodia.
The loan will be used to improve national roads in the provinces of Prey Veng, Siem Reap and Svay Rieng along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Southern Economic Corridor, according to the ADB’s statement.
“In Cambodia, roads are the dominant mode of transport, making road transport critical to the country’s social and economic development. However, the road subsector in Cambodia remains inefficient and fragmented,” Oyunchimeg Erdene, a senior transport specialist at ADB, is quoted as saying in the statement.
“Apart from enhancing existing roads in the three focus areas, the project will also help improve the government’s capacity in road asset management,” Mr Oyunchimeg stated.
Cambodia’s road networks now have low levels of connectivity and efficiency due to incomplete regulatory framework, low institutional capacity, limited private sector participation and the lack of sustainability of road assets, the statement says.
“There is a need to repair and rehabilitate some of the over 15,400 kilometres of national and provincial roads managed by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) to enhance Cambodia’s connectivity, particularly with its neighbouring countries within the GMS,” the press release says.
Specifically, the Road Network Improvement Project will overhaul 147km of unsafe and flood prone national road sections, while providing all-weather connectivity and climate resilience, the ADB said.
“It will also enhance the government’s capacity, through MPWT, to better manage its road assets through better operations and maintenance. In addition, the project will improve people’s awareness of road safety and traffic regulations.
“A notable feature of the project is the pilot testing of a hybrid performance-based contract for undertaking road works which involves construction and routine maintenance, increasing private sector participation in road maintenance.
“It is designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of road asset management in Cambodia by expanding the scope of contractors from project executors to road managers,” the ADB said.
Mey Kalyan, a senior advisor to the Supreme National Economic Council, earlier said that it is time to improve the country’s infrastructure to help reduce traffic.
“We need bigger infrastructure links to Thailand and Vietnam, as well as links with frontier provinces to boost the economy,” Mr Kalyan said. “The problem is the budget for development because it is public investment.