Singapore is looking to play a larger role in filling Cambodia’s infrastructure gaps and position itself as a facilitator and partner in the process. Lavan Thiru, the Executive Director of Infrastructure Asia (InfraAsia), stated in a recent interview that Cambodia is one of six countries that the organization has focused on over the years. InfraAsia was set up by Enterprise Singapore and the Monetary Authority of Singapore with full funding from the government of Singapore to support Asia’s social and economic growth through infrastructure development.
Thiru noted that the infrastructure needs of Cambodia are varied and that the role of InfraAsia, which functions like a company, is to work with government officials and the private sector to move projects forward. Among the many advantages that Singapore has is its status as an international financial center.
InfraAsia is involved in a number of projects in Cambodia, including the Phnom Penh Logistics Complex (PPLC). Launched by YCH Group, one of Asia’s largest logistics and supply chain providers, the $200 million project was unveiled in November 2021 following a Framework Agreement between Cambodia’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport and YCH Group, facilitated by InfraAsia in March 2021. Thiru stated that PPLC will be developed as a hub and spoke model and will be connected to other logistics centers in the region. He added that Singapore’s capabilities as a trading hub could be useful in making PPLC a successful project.
InfraAsia also helps implement projects in a sustainable manner and helps the private sector to identify good projects. Thiru stated that the organization serves as an intermediary, bringing parties together to work on projects. For example, in Cambodia, InfraAsia is working on waste management in Phnom Penh, which has seen three licenses awarded for waste management in 2020-2021, with one being awarded to a Singaporean company.
InfraAsia also offers capacity building and project structuring. The organization runs a program with the support of the Singapore Management University and the World Bank Group, which has benefited more than 200 regional government officials to date. In addition, InfraAsia has its own capabilities in project structuring and works with the right people to make projects better.
Apart from Cambodia, InfraAsia focuses on Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, and Bangladesh. The organization focuses on water, waste management, and the energy sector, both on the demand and supply sides. Thiru pointed out the importance of energy efficiency aggregation, which involves aggregating buildings together to save energy and reduce transmission or distribution loss. On waste management, he noted the need for sustainable options and the potential to harvest waste to create resources.
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