Substantial increase of AFD’s financial commitments for the economic and social development of Cambodia
€ 36.7 million AFD’s financial commitments have been signed on the occasion of the visit to Cambodia of Mr Dov Zerah, General Director of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). Those funds reflect the significant increase AFD’s financial commitments to Cambodia that will allow the financing of projects aimed at supporting: irrigation infrastructure investment, an improved access to drinkable water in Phnom Penh and the fight against emerging diseases in South-East Asia.
One month after the visit to Cambodia of the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, the General Director of AFD, Mr Dov Zerah, came back to the country on March 10th, 11th and 12th to conclude several memoranda of understanding and financial agreements, amounting to a total of € 36.7 million for the Kingdom of Cambodia. Mr Dov Zerah started his journey by a field visit to a vegetable production zone located 50 km south of Phnom Penh.
On March 11th, three agreements were concluded at the Ministry of Economy and Finance in the presence of the Vice Prime Minister, H.E. Mr Keat Chhon. The first agreement consisted in a memorandum of understanding on AFD’s methods of intervention in form of sovereign loans to the Kingdom of Cambodia. H.E. Mr Keat Chhon and the representatives of the French cooperation were very pleased with this new opportunity of financing which expands the historical partnership between the two countries, in particular thanks to the possibility to resort to new financial tools such as “flexible loans” (loans with variable and reschedulable repayments).
One agreement of € 4 million grant will allow AFD to pursue its interventions to support the sector policy on water resource management and irrigation infrastructure investment implemented by the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology. This project will allow AFD to keep strengthening the state and non-state actors involved in the management of water. Associated with this grant, a draft sovereign loan agreement of € 20 million is in final negotiation which aims to implement the investment program of about forty irrigation schemes and Preks in fours provinces in Cambodia.
The last agreement was concluded between Mr Dov Zerah and the General Director of Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA), Mr Sim Sitha. This € 30 million loan agreement will finance the construction of the second part of Niroth’s water treatment plant, located in the South-East of Phnom Penh. Once operational, the water treatment plant will be the biggest in Cambodia and shall respond to the increasing needs for drinkable water of the population of Phnom Penh city and sub-urban area by 2020.
AFD’s General Director ended his visit to Cambodia with the conclusion of a €2.7 million grant agreement to support the Instituts Pasteur in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (part of the project also concerns Burma and will be implemented by the National Laboratory - Laboratoire National). This project will finance medical research on emerging diseases, among which dengue fever and chikungunya in Southeast Asia, but also will help improving the different health public policies and reinforcing the regional coherence of these Global Public Goods.
In total, through these new funding, France shall be positioned, in principle, as the second largest bilateral OECD donor to Cambodia after Japan for 2013. In addition, from a qualitative point of view, the great diversity of the concluded financial agreements in form of guarantee scheme, grant, sovereign loan and non-sovereign loan) is a best illustration of AFD’s specificity: offering a wide range of financial tools to support most actors that contribute to the economic and social development of the country.
The new EUR 2.7m grant is part of the partnership between AFD and Institut Pasteur and will be earmarked to build the capacities of this Institute’s laboratories, support public policies and share methodologies and information at the regional level. It will also serve to combat emerging diseases in Southeast Asian countries: Burma, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam.
Core to AFD’s mandate in Asia
The new ECOMORE project (ECOnomie development, ECOsystem MOdifications, and emerging infectious diseases Risk Evaluation) aims to:
- Gain a better understanding of the ecological mechanisms responsible for the emergence of infectious diseases;
- Measure the health risks for local communities;
- Propose strategies and/or tried and tested models for operations to establish effective surveillance systems;
- Strengthen ties between the main national and regional stakeholders (including WHO) on these issues.
This project will be based on three types of operation: i) capacity building for participating laboratories; ii) support for public policies in the area of operation defined for each country; and iii) networking and sharing methodologies and information at the regional level.
A priority topic for each country
In Cambodia, the project will be based on the fight against dengue fever and chikungunya. These diseases are transmitted by a mosquito vector, the spread of which is facilitated by the new urban concentrations and the development of communication links. While dengue fever is endemoepidemic in Cambodia, chikungunya first appeared in 2012. In order to manage these epidemics – through vector control – it is necessary to evaluate existing surveillance systems and develop new detection strategies.
In Lao PDR, the project will be based on the consequences of deforestation and large-scale rubber plantations, which will reach maturity in a few years and bring about demographic changes (workers and their families obliged to live in this new environment). Possible changes in vector species (mosquitos) present in these artificial forests may also occur, meaning that these new communities will be exposed to diseases like malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis, etc.
In Vietnam, the project will be based on the health implications for communities due to the changeover from traditional farming to more intensive farming. This phenomenon concerns a sector that employs 75% of workers in a country where 73% of the population still live in rural areas. The health risks in question concern zoonoses, first and foremost avian flu, water and food-related infectious diseases, as well as occupational diseases, particularly due to chemical risks (pesticides and insecticides).
In Burma, this project will initiate a first scientific partnership between Institut Pasteur, its network and the relevant Burmese national partners. These partners are the National Health Laboratory and the Department of Medical Research (Lower Myanmar region), both based in Rangoon. The project will aim to build national diagnostic and surveillance capacities in order to upgrade these national partners, which provide a tool for the Ministry of Health. The two topics addressed are: acute respiratory infections and meningoencephalitis, which are major public health concerns for the country and especially affect children.