The European Investment Bank (EIB) has secured $17.4 million from the European Union to invest in sustainable agriculture projects in Cambodia. The EU bank will invest the money in the Sustainable Assets for Agriculture Markets, Business and Trade (SAAMBAT) project. A tenth of the money is earmarked for preparation to speed up the implementation of the project.
SAAMBAT is designed to improve the living standards of 200,000 rural Cambodian families and help them do business by improving infrastructure and ensuring a reliable food supply. It aims to create 4,500 jobs with an emphasis on youth employment. The project is a partnership between the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the EIB and the Cambodian government.
“The EIB is very proud of our continued contribution to Cambodia’s faster recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic but also to its long-term, sustainable and green development,” said EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters, who is in charge of EIB operations in Cambodia, “This EU grant is another step towards an even closer partnership between the European Union and Cambodia and, more importantly, will have a direct impact on the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians.”
Almost $60 million has already been invested in the project by the EIB, boosted by a $16 million contribution from the EU under its Team Europe project to help countries recover from the economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The money is being spent on building 650 kilometres (km) of paved road and 150 km of gravel road. It will also be used to improve 50 rural markets and 25 other facilities including ferry landings and farm produce pickup points.
Hem Vanndy, Secretary of State at Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance welcomed the SAAMBAT investment.
“The grant resources are an important contribution to the rapid and sustainable development of rural communities in Cambodia and to the green recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Extending the benefits of the previously signed EIB financing, the EU grant will reinforce Cambodia’s climate change adaptation efforts. It is therefore a valuable investment in a safer future for our people and in the long-term sustainability of our national economy. We are very happy to see Team Europe providing hands-on support for the efforts of the Royal Government of Cambodia to build a safer, sustainable and prosperous future for our people.”
In the long term SAAMBAT aims to integrate Cambodia further into the Greater Mekong Subregion, in cooperation with ASEAN and support the EU-Asia Connectivity Strategy.
It will be financed by a $53.3 million grant from IFAD, a $75.8 million loan from the EIB and a $12.4 million contribution from the Cambodian government.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.