Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday called for international aid to be sustained for developing countries as the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the virtual 2020 Sustainable Development Impact Summit of the World Economic Forum, Hun Sen also thanked development partners for their financial and technical support during the pandemic. The forum was held under the theme Building Forward Sustainably in Emerging Economies.
“At the global level, we have to continue ensuring the sustainability of international aid, particularly financial aid for developing countries, so that they can continue to drive their reforms which are part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.
“In this context, on behalf of the government, I express my profound gratitude and sincere appreciation to all development partners for their proactive cooperation and technical and financial assistance. They have enabled Cambodia to effectively control the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
Hun Sen recommended that all countries strive to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and stabilise people’s lives, production, business operations and investments.
“To achieve this goal, the government has implemented five rounds of well-targeted and timely measures, continued to carefully monitor the situation and been ready to implement additional concrete measures if needed,” he said.
He suggested other countries turn the threat of Covid-19 into an opportunity for reform. He emphasised that Cambodia has not slowed down its reform agenda in all sectors and continues to raise its competitiveness through the establishment of a
favourable environment for businesses and investments within the country.
Covid-19, he said, has negatively impacted public finance and the government’s revenue. The loss of revenue requires each government to introduce new mechanisms to mobilise financial resources to be used for future development.
“To achieve this goal, I am of the view that public-private partnership [PPP] is an indispensable and core mechanism that will help solve the financial difficulties of developing countries, both during and after the pandemic,” he said.
Hun Sen said developing countries need global cooperation, particularly the preservation of both bilateral and multilateral partnerships aimed at ensuring an environment for development, peace and stability at the regional and global levels.
Hong Vanak, an economic researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said UN charters encourage rich countries to help poor or developing ones.
He noted that since the start of Covid-19, Cambodia had received aid and loans from other countries and development partners. But that was not enough, and the government had approved financial packages worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
People’s Centre for Development and Peace president Yong Kim Eng told The Post on Wednesday he noticed that financial aid from developed countries had fallen since the outbreak of Covid-19, as they also faced pandemic-induced challenges.
“All [aid and loans] help ease the tension that Cambodia has faced. But the most important thing is how Cambodia uses the [aid and loans] in a transparent way, and how to keep the aid away from corruption. If they fall into corruption, the burden will fall on the people,” he said.