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Cambodia ‘Needs 1 Million More Homes By 2030’

The overview shows a construction boom of new condominiums and apartment buildings in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, December 15, 2016. (Khan Sokummono/VOA Khmer)

The population in Cambodia’s capital city is estimated to increase by more than 50 percent, to 7.9 million by 2030.

Cambodia needs to build some 1 million more homes by 2030 in order to meet the demands of a booming population, a minister has said.

Chea Sophara, minister of land management, urban planning and construction, told a housing forum this week that Phnom Penh alone would require an additional 800,000 dwellings built over the next 13 years.

The population of Cambodia’s capital city, he added, was due to increase by more than 50 percent to 7.9 million by 2030.

“To respond to this demand, the ministry has been very active in implementing the national housing policy, linking to urban planning policy to promote and support every type of housing development, especially affordable houses,” he said.

Sophara added that the government had entered into two public-private partnerships to build the new affordable houses: World Land Bridge and PNPN.

The efforts to build affordable modern homes were met with skepticism in some quarters, with experts pointing to a history of urban land grabs and dispossession.

An estimated 700,000 to 800,000 Cambodians have been affected by development projects, according to local rights groups.

Sia Phearum, director of the Housing Rights Task Force, told the same forum that the resolution of a dispute over Phnom Penh’s White Building, where residents recently accepted compensation to relocate after years of dispute with the authorities and a private developer, was a good sign.

“If we can solve other disputes like the White Building, then I believe there will be no more disputes,” he said.

“The government must do all it can to minimize corruption in order to bring in tax income to assist people in building decent homes,” he added.

Phearum went on to suggest that the houses could be built if incentives and tax breaks were offered to developers.

Tep Makathy, director of the Cambodian Institute for Urban Studies, told the forum it was “the burden of the government” to ensure developers met their obligations.

Sophara said the government was increasing investment in construction year-on-year.