The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Ministry of Economy and Finance on Wednesday signed two agreements worth $89 million.
They aim to boost access to water supply and sanitation services in rural areas, and improve the country’s efforts to develop its financial sector, an ADB press release said on Wednesday.
ADB country director for Cambodia Sunniya Durrani-Jamal and Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth signed the Third Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Services Sector Development Programme and the Inclusive Financial Sector Development Programme agreements on Wednesday.
“These two programmes support all four priority areas of the Rectangular Strategy IV,” Durrani-Jamal said in the press release.
The four areas concerned are human resource development through the improvement of public healthcare and nutrition; economic diversification by promoting financial and banking sector development; private sector development and employment by supporting small- and medium-
sized enterprises (SMEs); and inclusive and sustainable development through the promotion of agricultural and rural development.
The ADB said more than 400,000 people would benefit from its water supply and sanitation programme, which it approved in September.
The Philippines-headquartered bank said 2,500 water supply and sanitation facilities will be constructed and
rehabilitated and awareness campaigns implemented in at least 400 villages across 10 provinces.
Sustainable and reliable water supply and sanitation services remain scarce in Cambodia’s rural areas, where about 77 per cent of the Kingdom’s total population of 16.4 million live, it said.
It said that in 2017, 73 per cent of rural households had access to improved water supply, of which only 11 per cent had piped water supply.
Meanwhile, 56 per cent of rural residents had access to improved sanitation while some 41 per cent of them still practised open defecation, which can cause diarrhoea and other serious public health concerns.
The financial sector development programme, which ADB also approved in September, supports government efforts to promote financial inclusion and sustainable development of the sector – with a focus on poor, rural households and SMEs.
The ADB said while the Kingdom’s financial sector has made strides, it is still in its early stages of development as access to finance remains limited, especially in rural areas.
Almost one-third of the population has no access to any form of financial services, it said. Efforts to improve access to finance have been constrained by low levels of financial literacy.
Ministry of Economy and Finance spokesman Kim Sophea could not be reached for comment on Thursday.