Archive for December, 2008

Experts predict Cambodian real estate market to recover by 2010

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — Economists said that the nearly one billion U.S. dollars in foreign aid pledged to Cambodia by donor nations last week could boost the country’s sagging real estate market as early as 2010, national media reported Tuesday.

Kang Chandararot, president of the Cambodia Institute for Development Study, told the Phnom Penh Post that he expected the real estate market will rebound in two years, largely on the strength of foreign aid.

“If the government uses the aid to develop the country…then I think real estate may begin to stabilize,” he was quoted as saying by the Post.

But he cautioned that aid would not boost prices to the unprecedented levels seen last year.

Local real estate peaked in 2007 and 2008, partly driven by South Korean investment.

The market started to drop in September, although low transaction volume and scant figures make the depth and impact difficult to assess.

Kang Chandararot said foreign investment would be key to rebuilding the sector, but that other factors, such as the global economic crisis and border tensions with Thailand, could remain obstacles to growth.

Hang Choun Naron, secretary general for the Ministry of Economy and Finance, agreed that the sector was poised to recover.

“I (think) the real estate market will return to normal within the next two or three years,” he told the Post.

Editor: Wang Hongjiang

December 17, 2008 at 1:50 am Leave a comment

Donor countries pledge about $1 bln to Cambodia for 2009

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) — Donor countries have pledged about one billion U.S. dollars of aid to Cambodia in 2009, Keat Chhon, Cambodian Minister of Economy and Finance, said here on Friday.

“So far, they have pledged about 951.5 million U.S. dollars,” Keat Chhon, said at a press conference after the meeting between donor countries and Cambodia.

“But Belgium needs the approval from parliament first and the United States is in the transition of a new president. So they have not claimed yet,” he added.

He said that China is the biggest donor of Cambodia in 2009 with about 257 million U.S. dollars of aid.

The European Union (EU) is the second with 214 million U.S. dollars and Japan is the third with about 113 million U.S. dollars, he added.

International institutions and donor countries promised some 600 million U.S. dollars of aid for the kingdom in 2007.

Editor: Yan

December 8, 2008 at 1:32 am Leave a comment

China lends Cambodia US$200m

AFP – December 3, 2008

PHNOM PENH – CHINA on Wednesday gave impoverished Cambodia more than US$200 million  in loans and grants to re-build the country’s infrastructure, a government official said.

Chinese and Cambodian officials inked an agreement to give a 200-million-dollar-loan to rebuild roads in the kingdom during a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and China’s visiting top political advisor Jia Qinglin, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said.

During the meeting, Mr Jia also announced a grant of US$7.26 million and the same amount as a non-interest loan, he said.

The announcement came just a day before the annual aid meeting between the government and international donors.

Last year, Cambodia’s donors pledged US$689 million to the impoverished country, including tens of millions from China.

China, a former patron of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, routinely gives Cambodia hundreds of millions in aid outside the donor structure, and has been repeatedly praised by Mr Hun Sen for not attaching any conditions to its money.

December 5, 2008 at 3:54 am Leave a comment

World Bank helps Cambodia to strengthen Demand for Good Governance

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — The World Bank Group Wednesday approved a 20 million dollar grant for the Demand for Good Governance (DFGG) Project in Cambodia to help enhance citizens’ engagement in development and governance processes, and government responsiveness to their demands.

The DFGG Project represents an integral part of the World Bank’s efforts to tackle governance issues in Cambodia, according to a statement released by the World Bank.

Even though the country has achieved impressive economic progress over the last decades, governance remains a key impediment for broad-based development and further poverty reduction, it added.

This innovative project will seek to enhance the demand for good governance in priority reform areas in Cambodia by strengthening institutions, supporting partnerships, and sharing lessons, said the World Bank.

It will do so by promoting so called “demand-side” approaches, which strengthen the ability of citizens, civil society organizations, and other non-state actors to work constructively with government and to hold it accountable. These approaches also enhance the capacity of the government to become more responsive to citizens.

“This project is part of the Bank’s response to calls for broader engagement in governance reform in Cambodia. The Bank has provided leadership on supporting the public sector governance reform in the past,” said Qimiao Fan, the World Bank Country Manager for Cambodia.

“Now it is a great time to work with a broad range of stakeholders such as the government, private sector, civil society, donors, parliamentarians, and media, to create a stronger demand for good governance,” he added.

Good governance is increasingly recognized as a fundamental prerequisite for sustainable development. Its opposite — corruption — is also recognized as a major impediment to efficient and effective government, with a disproportionate impact on the poor.

Stimulating citizen demand for better governance has become a fundamental tool for more transparency and accountability in public affairs, and an integral part of the World Bank’s governance and anti-corruption strategy.

Editor: Yan

December 5, 2008 at 3:50 am Leave a comment

ADB gives $10 mln for Cambodia to improve public financial management

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) — The Asian Development Bank is (ADB) providing 10.81 million U.S. dollars to support efforts by Cambodia to improve its public financial management to ensure thatmuch-needed government funds reach the rural poor, said an ADB press release here on Thursday.

The program consists of a 6.71 million U.S. dollars of grant for the first of two sub-programs that will strengthen public financial management (PFM) reforms in the three ministries supporting rural development, namely the Ministry of Rural Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, it said.

Another 4.1 million U.S. dollars of grant will fund an institutional and capacity development project under the program.

The two grants will focus on improving the capacity of the three ministries in PFM subsystems relating to budget formulation,execution, procurement, and reporting; and internal audit for better service delivery to rural communities.

The two grants support Cambodia’s Public Financial Management Reform Program, which was launched in December 2004 by the Ministry of Economy and Finance to address weaknesses in the public financial management system, according to the release.

While the benefits of recent growth have been widely spread across Cambodia, the rural poverty rate has not declined as expected. The poverty rate in rural areas was estimated at 39 percent in 2004 compared with the national rate of 34 percent.

With an estimated 80 percent of the population living outside the main urban centers, this translates to more than 4 million people living below the poverty line in rural areas, said the release.

Poverty reduction is severely hampered by the limited effectiveness of public spending due to the weak link between policy and the budget.

“The ministries that support rural development in Cambodia are currently the weakest and most underfunded of all the ministries. As a result, service delivery in rural areas is slow and the ruralpoor do not have many economic opportunities,” Prasanna Kumar Jena, Governance Specialist of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department, was quoted as saying.

A strong public financial management system will help the government implement its National Strategic Development Plan, which aims to reduce poverty, particularly through policy and financial support to the agricultural sector, which employs an estimated 70 percent of the rural population and accounts for a third of gross domestic product, said the release.

The capacity development needs of the government’s National Audit Authority will also be taken into account by the program to improve the overall governance framework of Cambodia’s public sector, it added.

Editor: Du

December 5, 2008 at 3:47 am Leave a comment

Kuwait, Cambodia sign diplomatic agreement

KUWAIT, Dec 4 (KUNA) — The State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Cambodia on Thursday signed a bilateral agreement to establish diplomatic missions at both countries.

The agreement was signed by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah and Cambodian counterpart, Hor Namhong.

The signing ceremony was attended by Undersecretary at the foreign ministry Ambassador Khalid Suleiman Al-Jarallah, Director of Sheikh Dr. Mohammad’s Office Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, Head of Africa Department and Acting Head of Asia Department at the ministry Ambassador Faisal Al-Mulaifi, Head of Protocols Department Ambassador Dhari Ajran Al-Ajran and the Cambodian Ambassador to the country.

December 5, 2008 at 3:43 am Leave a comment

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