PHNOM PENH, April 1 (Phnom Penh Post/ANN): The French Development Agency (AFD) has pledged to finance up to €400 million (US$435 million) in projects over 2023-2024 to support the Kingdom in its low-carbon development path, to advance sustainable water management and the blue economy, and to improve regional integration, competitiveness and climate change resilience.
An agreement to this effect was signed on March 29 by Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary of state Vongsey Vissoth and AFD director for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia, Cyrille Bellier, at the agency’s headquarters in Paris.
“This visit is part of the 6th annual meeting to discuss AFD’s strategic orientations in Cambodia,” the agency said in a press release received by The Post on March 30.
“Through an agreement signed on this occasion, AFD reiterated its commitment to support the Kingdom’s transition by pledging to finance up to €400 million of projects in 2023-2024, with priority given to water and sanitation, agriculture, energy and vocational training sectors.
“This strategy responds to the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] and integrates cross-cutting issues such as innovation, gender, climate change, energy efficiency and the ‘One Health’ approach,” it said.
AFD country director for Cambodia Sandrine Boucher sees the financing commitment as evidence of the depth of the long-standing relations uniting the two countries, with the agency having been present in the Kingdom since 1993.
“On the year [that we celebrate the] 30th anniversary of AFD in Cambodia, we are delighted to welcome our Cambodian partners to AFD headquarters.
“This objective of doubling our new commitment to Cambodia up to €400 million for 2023-2024 reflects our long-standing partnership, with AFD responding to the priority sustainable development needs expressed by the Kingdom of Cambodia.” the release quoted her as saying.
Vissoth hailed the responsiveness of the financing package and its expected contributions to socio-economic development in Cambodia, especially in priority sectors.
“We are delighted to see AFD’s expanding operation in Cambodia. As we transition into another phase of socio-economic development, we are seeing many more collaboration opportunities to address ongoing and future challenges together.
“We are also pleased to note the alignment of our respective development strategies and sectoral priorities, especially in water and sanitation, agriculture, energy and vocational training sectors”, he was quoted as saying.
The release noted that since its 1993 opening, “AFD has financed 92 projects for a total of €927 million. Over the past five years, AFD’s sectoral portfolio has focused on water and sanitation [44%], agriculture [40%], energy [10%] and technical and vocational education and training [9%]”. - Phnom Penh Post/ANN