Managing the Present, Creating the Future – Germany’s Contribution to Cambodia’s Economic Transformation


Cambodia is looking to the future. Admittedly, few visitors made it to Cambodia’s most famous temple, Angkor Wat, on this Sunday morning in September. But Vannak, who has worked in Siem Reap as a tour guide for more than five years, is optimistic. “Last year was not good,” he says, “but Cambodia is very good at vaccinating its people. Soon international tourists will be able to come back to the country and there will be work for us and the hotels. “

Already, thousands of jobs have been lost due to the COVID pandemic. German development cooperation has not only provided Cambodia with extensive assistance during the COVID-19 crisis, but will continue to support the country in the post-pandemic period. This applies for example to the textile and clothing sector in Cambodia. Implemented by GIZ, a new textile project supports dialogue between the various players in the sector. WE House, a women’s center in Phnom Penh, offers women textile workers the opportunity to meet and exchange information. The app “Seth Yerng – Our rights” provides information on labor rights in the textile industry. In addition, new and innovative approaches to industrial waste and the circular economy are promoted. This will help bring the industry closer to global standards and contribute to its sustainable development.

An important aspect of the German-Cambodian cooperation is to promote the competitiveness of the Cambodian economy and its businesses. The ongoing restructuring of regional and global value chains creates new opportunities to attract technologically advanced industries. The German-funded programs “Regional Economic Development IV” and “Support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises” help companies from different sectors to improve business processes, quality management and operational productivity, digital technologies promote innovation. The promotion of foreign direct investment supports the import of technologies, the transfer of know-how as well as regional economic integration.

Several GIZ projects, as well as a German Business Scout for Development, the Association of German Companies and EUROCHAM are supporting the creation of an information center for exports to the EU. It will provide up-to-date and comprehensive data on demand patterns, phytosanitary standards and other import regulations. As a joint project co-financed by the European Union and Germany, “ARISE +” continues to facilitate the modernization of the administrative and regulatory framework for Cambodia’s exports.

Economic diversification and modernization not only requires skilled people, quality products and resilient businesses, it also requires a well-developed infrastructure. As part of the German-Cambodian cooperation, the KfW Development Bank has invested 80 million euros in the form of grants in the construction and rehabilitation of rural roads, bridges and regional markets. In 2020, KfW contributed € 7.1 million in grant financing and € 30 million in loan financing to the Rural Infrastructure Development Program for Cambodia (RIP4CAM). The project will implement rural, social and economic infrastructure projects such as 550 km rural roads serving about 200,000 villagers as well as several off-road measures for about 150 villages. This will improve the water supply of 20,000 households and the water management of 1,200 hectares of agricultural land. 60 post-harvest facilities, 25 community ponds and 10 community buildings will be constructed.


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