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Four-Year ‘Good Governance’ Project Begins

Cambodia announced a four-year, $25 million project to enhance good governance on Wednesday, seeking to promote the private sector, natural resources, public finance and decentralization.

The project, supported by the World Bank and launched Wednesday by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, will encourage citizens to take greater part in development and governance in the four areas, officials said.

“The project will play an important role in providing capacity-building and strengthening the state of institutions,” Sar Kheng said. The project will also “encourage the implementation of more effectiveness, transparency, accountability and response to the daily needs of people.”

Programs will be put in place at the “sub-national” level to improve administration and reduce corruption and the abuse of power, he said.

The $25.28 million project will be funded mainly through the World Bank, which is providing the bulk of the money, and the Australian Agency for International Development, which is contributing $3.62 million.

Cambodia’s World Bank manager, Qimiao Fan, said the project was “critical” to the country’s fight against corruption and “cannot be allowed to fail.”

He called on officials to ensure the project was “open and transparent,” to benefit everyone in the country. He would be looking at the project’s implementation “personally,” he said.

Not everyone is convinced the idea will work.

Ke Sovannrath, secretary-general of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said corruption needed to be fought at the national level, including with an anti-corruption law that has been in a draft stage for a decade.

“This project for fighting against corruption at sub-nation level will not meet with effectiveness and will not be enough,” she said. “We want to recommend the government to pass an anti-corruption law, and then we project good governance from the national level down to the sub-national level. This will be effective.”