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Aid Packet Comes With Some Expectations

Donor agencies and governments said Friday they had confidence in Cambodia’s commitment to pass an anti-corruption law and continue reforms in public finance and transparency, justifying a decision to hand the government a giant aid package.

The nearly $1 billion in aid pledged Friday was to support the government’s development plan, help the country grow, and help reduce the number of poor, said Qimiao Fan, the World Bank’s Cambodia manager and facilitator for the 17 donors.

“In our support, we encouraged the government to improve the transparency and the management of these resources for the benefit for the people,” he said. “The government needs to further integrate the planning with budgeting and aid management, so that these resources raised from external donors they use efficiently and effectively for the benefit of the Cambodian people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.”

“Priority areas” discussed in the two days of meetings included education, health, agriculture, infrastructure and social protection, he said.

The British government, which increased it aid from about $20.5 million last year to $26.4 million this year, would support “a number of areas of development, particularly supporting good governance, the health sector, and rural development,” the country’s ambassador, Andrew Mace, said Thursday.

“The prime minister set out some very clear challenges facing the country,” he said. “He set out a very clear agenda for action by his own government, and a willingness to work in close partnership with the donors, and we welcome that very much.”

“We recognize very well the need of the Cambodian people for assistance…in addressing issues such as health, education, road developments, [and] many challenges facing them,” he said. “We’re working closely with the government to know those areas. We welcome their commitments in those areas. I welcome their commitments for good governance and combating corruption [and] we look forward to those commitments to been turned into practice.”