Three New Cities Established

Three new cities have been created in Arey Ksat, Sampov Poun and Oudong Mechey, with hopes pinned on them driving development in the areas
View from a top building of Arey Ksat City, December 26, 2022. Kiripost/Siv Channa
View from a top building of Arey Ksat City, December 26, 2022. Kiripost/Siv Channa

The government has established three new cities in Arey Ksat, Sampov Poun in Kandal, and Oudong Mechey, in Kampong Speu province.

The government officially inaugurated Arey Ksat city in Kandal Province by removing six communes from Khsach Kandal District and five communes from Lvea Em District, which has 11 Sangkats.

Sangkat Arey Ksat is where the city of Arey Ksat's administration will be housed. The Law on the Administration of Capital, Province, City, District, and Khan will govern the organizational structure and administrative system of Arey Ksat City.

Recently, the government of the Republic of Korea offered a $200 million loan to build the Cambodia-Korea Friendship Bridge. The project takes in two bridges, with one connecting the night market in Phnom Penh to Chroy Changva and Chroy Changva to Arey Ksat. Construction is expected to take four years and will begin in 2023.

Sampov Poun City was established in Kandal Province by combining five communes from Koh Thom District. Sampov Poun Sangkat will be the location of Sampov Poun Municipality's administrative center.

Oudong Mechey City will consist of Veang Chas commune, Veal Pong commune, Trach Tong commune, Preah Sre commune, and Ksem Ksan commune in Kampong Speu.

According to economist Ky Sereyvath, the goal of building the new cities is to improve infrastructure, enhance business capital, and provide access to clean water and electricity.

The expansion of cities, he said, contributes to an increase in land prices, raising people's wealth, which in turn fuels growth. Because the region was already booming economically, people have been driven to move from downtown areas to the suburbs.

He added that people will benefit from this expansion and to the economy as a whole. He said citizens are the primary beneficiaries of the creation of the new cities.

Economist Hong Vanak said that the government studies each area's population, size, and economic difficulties before establishing new cities.

From an economic standpoint, Vanak said he can see many advantages to this expansion. The first is the process of developing new urban areas when building new cities, which means local activity may drive up costs and boost nearby economic activity. This can result in economic flows in the area and attract investors to buy land.

“Once a city is established, it needs a newly-created land management officer with authority over the region to facilitate the management and collection of revenue effectively for the nation,” Vanak said.

In particular, the management of authorities benefit from the economy as it is more successful when there are fewer individuals involved.

He stressed, “If management is less, but authorities have grown and hired more officers, the management efficacy is worse. That is a loss, But if the new area is managed better and more successfully on an administrative and financial level, the new region will be more attractive and the new city will grow.”