The Consultative Group of aid donors to Cambodia concluded a two-day meeting Friday in Tokyo, promising a $470 million one-year aid package to Phnom Pen.
The aid package is to be accompanied by a mechanism to monitor the implementation of a series of reforms Cambodia has pledged to carry out, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, chairwoman of the meeting, said at a news conference. “The pledged amount is $20 million larger than the anticipated $450 million in Cambodian aid, thanks to the donors’ understanding of Cambodia’s efforts for economic recovery and development,” she said.
Japan, Cambodia’s largest aid donor, offered $100 million toward the package and also conveyed its intention to offer an unspecified amount of yen loans, the first offer of such loans to Cambodia in 31 years, said Hideaki Domichi, deputy director general of the Economic Cooperation Bureau at the Foreign Ministry.
As for other aid donors, however, the amount of fresh grants-in-aid and other support to Cambodia pledged by each during the two-day meeting were not specified at the news conference.
The package was adopted Friday by the 16 nations and six international agencies belonging to the Consultative Group. Their meeting was sponsored by the World Bank. “I’m delighted to tell you that we had a very successful outcome for the Consultative Group meeting for Cambodia,” Okonjo-Iweala said. “The pledge that has been made is for $470 million — this is the signal that the world is concerned about Cambodia’s commitment (to reforms).”
Nonetheless, many of the donors directed their attention to the problems Cambodia is facing — demobilization of the army, achieving better governance and accountability in managing the economy, meeting basic human needs, enforcing forestry management and fighting corruption, she added.
In response, Keat Chhon, Cambodia’s minister of economy and finance, underlined his nation’s determination to achieve the reforms: “Our concern is not only Cambodia’s concern but also our donors’ concern, because we are working in partnership for sustainable development of Cambodia.”
Chhon stressed that Cambodia’s political stability, fast economic recovery and self-sustained development would make an immense contribution to the stability of Southeast Asia.