EU commits over US$17 million to rural infrastructure

The European Union (EU) has announced plans to provide to the Royal Government through the Europe Investment Bank (EIB) a grant of over US$17 million primarily to fund the country’s rural infrastructure development.

The grant is part of a larger project aimed at speeding up the implementation of the Sustainable Assets for Agriculture Markets, Business and Trade (SAAMBAT). SAAMBAT is a partnership investment with a facility valued at over US$120 million in capital, jointly bankrolled by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the EIB and the Royal Government of Cambodia.

A key focus and priority of this agreement is to upgrade the living standards and to ease economical activities for about 200,000 Cambodian families resident in rural areas. To reach this goal, the partners fund projects that create more reliable and secure road networks all through the year. They also fund other projects that improve rural infrastructure, and also enable reliable food supply.

As a direct effect of this partnership, financing will be provided for various initiatives and projects that will significantly improve the standard and quality of life in rural areas. These improvements beyon road safety, also include fostering their resilience to natural disasters, and the development of vital rural infrastructure such as local markets.

These rural areas deserve very close attention in a country such as Cambodia, where well over 60% of all rural households face seasonal food shortages every year due to underdeveloped infrastructure.

It is believe that this effort will create 4,500 jobs and also birth 500 new small to medium-sized enterprises. It will also provide a platform to train and equip people in such areas with skills including how to leverage digital technologies in scaling their businesses and trade. This is expected to benefit a total of 25,000 Cambodians.

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