The French Development Agency (AFD), which celebrates its 30th anniversary in Cambodia this year, has financed nearly $959 million in various development programs, from environmental protection, biodiversity, energy, water and sanitation, to infrastructure, energy, education and vocational training.
The French Embassy said in a statement that this is long-term support, which has helped improve access to drinking water, with one million people now connected in Phnom Penh, as well as access to electricity in rural provinces, connecting 165,000 households to the network.
Since 2017, AFD's activities have grown strongly, with 50 percent of cumulative commitments since 1993 granted after this date, the embassy said.
The embassy added that AFD Group's new commitments in Cambodia are expected to continue over the next three years at $106 to 159 million per year, as, together with “Team Europe”, AFD is actively participating in European support for the country's development.
Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of AFD Group, visited Cambodia during the 30th anniversary and went to construction works by Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) on the largest water treatment plant, which is now 90 percent completed.
The embassy said the project is financed by two loans worth $188 million from AFD, a $100 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB), a $13 million grant from the European Union (EU) through the Asia Investment Facility, and direct investment by PPWSA worth $80 million.
The EU grant specifically targets connection for poor communities living in the peri-urban areas of Phnom Penh, the embassy said.
Long Naro, Director General of PPWSA, said that the partnership with AFD is historic, and that the Bakheng water supply project will bring clean water to all in Phnom Penh. Once it is completed in 2024, production capacity will increase from 0.6 to 1 million m3 per day.
“This will respond to the rapid water demand due to the expansion of Phnom Penh in every direction,” Naro said, adding that the project contributes to the achievement of universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all, by covering 96 percent of the population in Phnom Penh and Ta Khmau city out of a 95 percent target by 2023 and to meet the Cambodian vision of becoming a high-middle-income country by 2030.
Carmen Moreno, Ambassador of European Union Delegation to Cambodia, said that this represents a major step forward to address the shortage of clean water supplies in Phnom Penh.
The Bakheng project has brought together Team Europe under the Global Gateway around a common objective of contributing to the economic prosperity of Cambodia and its people, she said.
“The Bakheng Water Production Facilities will bring safe and drinkable water to thousands of Cambodian households. It will also provide reliable access to clean water for the Cambodian industry, while creating new job opportunities and raising living standards of the population,” Moreno said.
The French Embassy also said that AFD has been supporting Cambodia’s vast reform of public finance since 2019 and will continue to mobilize its expertise towards the government efforts, especially for Green Public Finance.
The support has been for the Ministry of Economy of Finance with technical assistance since 2019, in drafting a new public finance law based on international best practices and, in particular, the standards and procedures in place in the French Organic Law on Finance Laws (LOLF).
“We look forward to deepening our collaboration with the Cambodian minister of Finance and the country’s public banks, as part of the wider 'Finance in Common' (FiCS) movement to align the financial sector with the Paris agreement and the SDGs” said Rioux.