Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Island nations offer advice on development of infrastructure

Island nations offer advice on development of infrastructure

A cargo container is lifted for shipping earlier this year at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port.
A cargo container is lifted for shipping earlier this year at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. Sahiba Chawdhary

Island nations offer advice on development of infrastructure

At a regional conference held in Phnom Penh yesterday, international officials met to discuss how Cambodia needs to adopt a more resilient infrastructure strategy to ensure stable economic growth by taking lessons from regional counterparts and seeking out their guidance.

Speaking at the conference, Pheng Sovicheano, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said that despite Cambodia’s rapid economic growth, the Kingdom needs more financing to develop infrastructure to ensure long-term prosperity.

“Recent growth in the Kingdom can be connected to the booming construction and tourism sectors, as well as a healthy flow of foreign direct investment,” he said. “But we understand there is still more to be done.”

Specifically, he cited an immediate need for an enhanced logistics sector that improves trade within the Kingdom.

The conference, which was co-hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (Unops) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), brought together representatives from Sri Lanka, the Maldives and the Philippines.

Patali Champika Ranawaka, the minister of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, noted that Cambodia could look to the island nation on how to address the development of its infrastructure.

“Cambodia can learn from Sri Lanka’s experiences, because Cambodia is facing a lot of the same challenges we have faced, including becoming a middle-income country and improving methods of transportation for exports,” he explained. “Cambodia can work to ensure the Mekong River is a commercial waterway, and can also learn from Sri Lanka’s plans to become a high-income country by 2030.”

Despite Sri Lanka and Cambodia both currently being classified as lower-middle-income countries, Sri Lanka is on the cusp of being solidly middle-income and has been lauded by the World Bank for years for its resilient economic policies despite consistent natural disasters.

Fathimath Shaana Farooq, director general of the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure for the Maldives, explained that while her country is primarily concerned with developing harbour infrastructure between the nation’s 26 atolls, both countries could still learn from each other on how to manage development spending.

“Cambodia is very different [than the Maldives], but Cambodia can learn how we are focusing our investment in areas that will lead to sustainable development in the future,” she said.

“We can also learn from how Cambodia is integrating itself within the Southeast Asian community and becoming a viable economic partner for surrounding nations.”

She added that she saw great potential in bankability and options for future financing between the two nations.

Eleazar Ricote, deputy executive director at the Philippine Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center, said that Cambodia needs to do more to ensure economic prosperity by meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Of paramount importance, he stressed, should be initiatives to improve bankability, sustainability and risk management in the Kingdom.

“At the heart of SDG targets are infrastructure facilities in key sectors, including public health and energy, that will enable and sustain investments, jobs, consumption growth and poverty reduction,” he said, adding that Cambodia should follow the Philippines’ model for incorporating the goals into national plans.

“There’s an annual financing gap at current levels of investments, and the private sector accounts for most jobs, capital flows and GDP while also bringing efficiencies in innovation,” he said. “There is a need for private financing to better meet these goals.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a