ADB approves US$180 million loan for Cambodia's urban services improvement

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 19 (Xinhua): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$180 million loan to help three cities in Cambodia improve urban infrastructure and boost economic competitiveness, the ADB said in a statement on Friday.

The Livable Cities Investment Project will help more than 140,000 residents in Bavet, Kampot, and Poipet access better wastewater and solid waste management services, the statement said, adding that Bavet and Popet are entry points to Vietnam and Thailand, respectively, and the port city Kampot has become a tourism destination.

It will help the cities reduce flooding by upgrading their urban stormwater and drainage systems, it said, adding that the project also aims to strengthen the capacity of municipal governments to deliver urban services.

"More Cambodians are moving to secondary cities, but limited access to urban infrastructure and services, as well as environmental degradation, has worsened living conditions and hurt urban economic growth," said ADB Urban Development Specialist Wei Kim Swain.

"The project will help the government upgrade sanitation and waste management and raise living standards, especially among low-income households vulnerable to the health, economic, and environmental effects of poor sanitation. It will also help the municipalities attract private sector investment and create jobs," he added.

Cambodia's urban population rose to 6 million in 2019 from 2.6 million in 2008, which has posed a challenge for municipal governments to provide services, the statement said.

In 2019, about 47 per cent of Cambodia's urban population had access to piped water supply in dwellings, it said, adding that untreated sewage is commonly discharged into the open environment through combined sewers and road drains or indirectly via open canals.

Solid waste services are limited, and a large proportion of solid waste is left uncollected, dumped in open canals, the open environment, or burned, the statement said.

Cambodia's National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023 aims to address those challenges and the plan prioritizes investments in public infrastructure, including water supply and sanitation, and sets a national target for all cities to provide safe water by 2025 and strengthen solid waste management.

In Bavet and Poipet, the project will support the rehabilitation of existing canals and the construction of a wastewater treatment plant, sewerage network, new stormwater drains, and landfills, the statement said, adding that in Kampot, it will expand the sewerage network and lay out a plan for local governments to become self-sufficient service providers. - Xinhua

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