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Cambodia Awarded Nearly $1 Billion in Aid

Cambodia was awarded nearly $1 billion in aid promises Friday, with Chinese aid surpassing that of any other country or agency.

“This week is a $1 billion week for Cambodia,” Keat Chhon told reporters after the two-day donor meeting ended Friday. “This aid package we have not yet divided into loans and grants,” he said, and the total so far did not include aid from some agencies or countries.

Of the total $951.5 million, China pledged $257 million, compared to $91.5 million. The EU pledged $214 million, compared to $170.2 million last year. Japan maintained its aid level, promising $113 million this year, compared to $112.2 million in 2007.

The US, which was the No. 3 donor last year, with $48.8 million in pledged aid, did not disclose an amount Friday, but officials said they were committed to a strong relationship with the government.

The government said in a statement Friday the country’s economic growth rate was likely to fall in 2009, meaning “the Royal Government will need to maintain commitment to the current reform program, react swiftly to minimize adverse effects of global recession on key sectors and the poorest segments of the population, and to focus on rural development and the modernization of agriculture in order to protect people’s livelihoods.”