Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn on September 13 met with newly appointed Asian Development Bank (ADB) representative to Cambodia Jyotsana Varma for discussions.
Varma said she was optimistic for the future of the Cambodian economy, saying that she and the ADB are ready to continue working with the Kingdom to stimulate inclusive and sustainable growth post-pandemic.
At the meeting, Sokhonn hailed the ADB for providing the Kingdom with around $4.3 billion in loans for more than 400 development projects over the past 30 years.
This has contributed to socio-economic development and nation-building after the UN intervention in Cambodia in 1992.
Sokhonn highlighted how during the Covid-19 pandemic, the ADB had assisted the Cambodian government in strengthening healthcare systems and increasing social support for the poor and vulnerable, as well as stimulating the small and medium-sized enterprise sector.
Varma said she was pleased with the strong cooperation between the ADB and Cambodia, and complimented the Kingdom for successfully hosting a range of meetings in August as the chair of ASEAN.
This had raised the standing of Cambodia in the international community, she said.
Sokhonn took to social media to say: “We had productive talks and reaffirmed our commitment to working even more closely together over the next few years.”
Political commentator Seng Sary said the more than $4.3 billion in loans was a result of the 1991 Paris Peace Agreeements, when the ADB and other international institutions, including the signatories, had pledged to assist Cambodia.
This included bringing Cambodians out of poverty, developing the economy and building infrastructure, as well as improving education and healthcare.
“We have seen that ADB loans have contributed to assisting Cambodia, with such assistance having entered the very veins of the Kingdom’s development,” Sary said.
Cambodia had developed impressively, and the support of the ADB and other development partners could not be overlooked, he added.
ADB is one of Cambodia’s largest sources of official development assistance, with average annual lending of $329.8 million from 2016-2021.