AFD has been present in Cambodia since 1993 and supports the country by focusing on two key structural areas: promoting balanced territorial development (access to basic services, water resource management, adaptation to climate change, etc.) on the one hand and supporting the productive sector while respecting environmental and social standards (renewable energies, technical and professional training) on the other.

To achieve its objectives, AFD Group has historically relied on a wide range of tools: subsidized sovereign and non-sovereign loans (guarantees, European grants and financing through delegated funds, which make AFD the leading European donor and one of the leading bilateral donors in Cambodia).

More than half of our projects in Cambodia are implemented in partnership with other donors, notably the European Union, the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the German KfW.
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Couple in front of their house, Cambodia
rice producers, Cambodia, development

Ensuring access to basic services

irrigation program, Cambodia, development

Ensuring access to basic services

In a country where urban growth is very high and population dynamics mean there is a need to create large numbers of jobs, internal stability and social harmony require the restoration of a balance between all the country's territories. This involves public investment to provide access to basic services for all the population, whilst concentrating efforts on disadvantaged social groups (rural population, women).

AFD is supporting investments in infrastructure and economic projects (electricity, water, sanitation, irrigation systems) which concern both urban centres and rural areas. Another challenge is to reinforce physical connectivity (transport infrastructure, markets, training centres, etc.). 

The energy sector is a key sector of the Cambodian economy: the high cost of electricity is still a discriminating factor for foreign investors. Despite considerable progress in terms of rural electrification, the infrastructure deficit results in significant load shedding, particularly during the 2019 dry season, leading to repeated power cuts in the capital, Phnom Penh.

In order to support the ambitious national climate policy reaffirmed during the NDC update at the end of 2020, AFD is supporting various projects ranging from the development and modernization of the Electricité Du Cambodge (EDC) electricity network to the modelling of the energy sector by 2050 in order to inform future public policies in the sector.

France-Cambodia partnerships in the water and sanitation sector are long-standing and have enabled French expertise in these fields to be developed. AFD has had a partnership with the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) for almost 20 years and has financed several drinking water treatment plants (Chrouy Chang Var, Chamcar Morn, Niroth) and network extensions. The investments to be made by PPWSA (defined in the 2016-2030 master plan) remain considerable in order to meet a doubling of demand by 2030 to 1,000,000 m3/d. The first phase of the Bakheng water treatment plant project is co-financed by AFD, the EIB and the EU and the second phase by AFD alone (under implementation for 2019-2024). In the provinces, AFD is also supporting the Siem Reap Water Supply Authority's investment plan and is co-financing a drinking water and sanitation project in Cambodia's secondary cities (Battambang, Kampong Cham and Siem Reap) with the ADB.

AFD is also actively involved in facilitating access to basic services in rural areas where 70% of the Cambodian population lives. The development of road infrastructure (rural tracks) is a priority and is generally accompanied by the construction of complementary infrastructure for local development in the drinking water and sanitation, agriculture, health and education sectors.

Managing water resources and adapting to climate change

Tap water

Managing water resources and adapting to climate change

Cambodia is known to be a country where water is an abundant resource. However, this resource is now threatened by climate change (droughts and floods) and adaptation requires efficient management of all the country's water resources, both underground and surface.

To meet this major challenge, AFD is supporting public investments in water resource management through:

  • a program approach to support the national irrigation policy - AFD's historical intervention sector in Cambodia - in its infrastructure components (rehabilitation of irrigated perimeters and preks) and social water management by including users in the management and maintenance of networks;
  • a national project to develop the aquaculture sector, as fish products are the main source of animal protein consumed in Cambodia;
  • AFD is also involved in the resilience of secondary cities (Battambang, Kratie, Chlong, Kampot) to the effects of climate change, which notably requires investments to protect riverbanks from flooding and to drain rainwater.

Reinforcing human capital and social inclusion

rubber producer, Cambodia, development

Reinforcing human capital and social inclusion

Because of its unique recent history, Cambodia is now forced to invest massively and urgently in its human capital, targeting the younger generations. AFD is supporting the government in its social inclusion priorities, which include:

  • vocational training to enable the workforce to respond appropriately to the needs of the labor market and meet the demographic challenge;
  • the implementation of the national strategy for social protection with the objective of setting up a compulsory health and pension coverage mechanism for the formal and informal sectors;
  • support for the financial inclusion sector, in order to accompany it towards greater inclusion and accountability, through the dissemination of responsible practices.

Supporting sustainable agriculture and rural development

Agriculture Cambodia

Supporting sustainable agriculture and rural development

AFD is also supporting the government's strategy for integrated rural development by promoting agro-ecological and productive transitions, supporting balanced territorial development, and supporting public policies and capacity building for institutional stakeholders. AFD is financing actions such as: 

  • Strengthening the rice sector via irrigation projects that aim to support the intensification of rice production;
  • Promoting higher added value in local agricultural sectors, for example by supporting the development of geographical indications (Kampot pepper, Kampong Speu palm sugar);
  • Supporting the agro-ecological transition and promoting practices that respect the environment and ecosystems.

Supporting the NGO network

NGO Cambodia

Supporting the NGO network

Finally, AFD in Cambodia supports the network of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and currently provides financial support to 24 projects of 16 French NGOs, 9 of which are implemented solely in Cambodia and 15 of which are multi-country programs that include an activity component in Cambodia. All of these projects are implemented in partnership with Cambodian CSOs, for a total commitment of €6.3M. The sectors most represented are agriculture and food security, education, vocational training and youth integration, governance, human rights and social sectors.

projects financed
million euros committed since 1993
million euros committed every year

The Kingdom of Cambodia, a country in Southeast Asia, has a population of about 15.8 million, with about 80% living in rural areas. The country is experiencing particularly dynamic economic growth: over the last two decades, this has varied around the 8% mark, one of the highest rates in the world. This momentum has been accompanied by a significant reduction in the level of poverty, which fell from 45% to 17% between 2004 and 2012.

Cambodia has opted for a resolutely open economic policy, one of integration into the world economy. But the foundations on which this growth are built remain fragile: infrastructures (transport, water, electricity) are not extensive enough and the economy not sufficiently diversified. The country nevertheless has high value-added potential: tourism, the textile and agrifood industries.

A partner of Cambodia since 1993, AFD supports the country by focusing on two key structural areas: the promotion of balanced regional development and support for business, industry and trade focused on the environmental and social aspects. To do this, it is able to draw on a wide range of tools: sovereign and non-sovereign subsidised loans, guarantees, European grants and funding through delegation of funds arrangements.

AFD's Cambodia office is directly attached to the Southeast Asia regional office in Bangkok.

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In Cambodia, irrigation helps farmers weather climate change

It’s mid-November and the rice fields in Khvaek village are in full bloom. Fat, golden grains droop from their green stalks. Any day now, the farmers living here will hire a combine to harvest the rice. It will be threshed, dried, poured into 50 kilograms bags, and sold off. And then, they will begin planting it again.


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