The FINANCIAL -- PHNOM PENH, July 12, 2018 — The government of Cambodia and the World Bank 0n July 13 signed agreements signaling the start of the implementation of two key investment projects, one seeking to improve higher education for industrial development, and the other one focused on enhancing road linkages from the economic center of the country—Phnom Penh—to the only deep-see port in Preah Sihanouk province.
“I would like to commend and acknowledge the excellent cooperation between the World Bank and Royal government of Cambodia, as we work together in the spirit of mutual understanding to make it possible for the two projects to come to fruit,” said H.E. Dr. Aun Pornmoniroth, Senior Minister, Minister of Economy and Finance. “As you all are aware, the development of skilled human resources is critical to realize the goals envisaged under Cambodia’s Industrial Development Policy and the Industrial Development Plan 2015-2025 to support the modernization of the industrial structure in Cambodia from labor based to expertise-based industries by 2025. Signing these projects today commits the government to achieve their crucial objectives.”
The projects -- Higher Education Institutions Capacity Improvement Project (HEICP) and Second Road Asset Management Project (RAMP II) -- were approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on April 28, 2018 and on June 21, 2018, respectively.
Through the US$ 90 million HEICP, the World Bank will support Cambodia’s efforts to improve the quality of higher education and research in the country and to broaden access to higher education for disadvantaged students. This six years project will focus on improving science, technology, engineering, mathematic as well as agricultural programs, with the goal of equipping Cambodian graduates with more relevant and transferable skills that can support the country transition from a labor-intensive economy to one driven by knowledge.
The project’s five key activities include: providing research funds in the priority subject areas; expanding classrooms and laboratories; building dormitories for disadvantaged students, such as students from poor households and remote areas, as well as female students; strengthening quality assurance and information systems; and working with international partners to improve the curriculum and methodology of the priority subject areas.
The US$110 million in additional financing for RAMP II will aim to improve the conditions, safety, and climate resilience of National Road number 4. This road endures heavy traffic through several economic zones and rich agricultural areas. This additional financing will be used to upgrade more than 200 kilometers and improve road shoulders, build drains and bridges with innovative, climate resilient designs.
This project will also seek to upgrade existing weighing stations and reduce the risk of overloading, install speed-limit zoning, guide-signs, solar powered lights, and speed cameras.
“It is essential for the country to invest in its human capital and improve the skills of young Cambodians so that they are able to compete in the economy of the future. Closing infrastructure gaps will also be essential to foster Cambodia’s competitiveness in the region and promote private sector development,” said Inguna Dobraja, the World Bank’s Country Manager for Cambodia. “Today’s signing ceremony shows that the World Bank continues a close development partnership with Cambodia.”
The two projects are financed through credits from the International Development Association, the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. They are credits without interest, with a final maturity of 38 years, including a grace period of six years.