Germany pledges funds for Cambodia

The aid include some 60 million euros for rural infrastructure, health and other social programmes.

Germany pledges funds for Cambodia
dpa

Phnom Penh (dpa) - Germany has pledged 58.6 million euros (65.5 million dollars) to Cambodia for rural infrastructure, health and other social programmes, while noting that respect for human rights underscored development cooperation.

The new commitments include a 30-million-euro concessional loan for rural infrastructure and 28.6 million euros in grants toward nutrition, public health and other development programmes, according to a statement dated Wednesday and shared by the the German embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday.

Cambodia was the "fastest growing country" in East Asia in 2018, sustaining at least 7-per-cent real growth annually since 2011, the World Bank said.

While the nation's official poverty rate continues to decline, about one in four Cambodians remain "vulnerable to falling back into poverty" when exposed to external shocks, according to the World Bank. The majority of the poor live in rural areas.

In February, the European Union began a year-long process that could result in the suspension of Cambodia's duty-free access to the European market over a failure to meet human rights standards.

The threat followed 2018 elections in which the long-ruling party of Prime Minister Hun Sen won all parliamentary seats on offer after the Supreme Court dissolved the main opposition party.

The party ban was part of an ongoing government crackdown against the opposition, civil society and independent media.

Norbert Barthle, parliamentary state secretary for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, said in the statement that Cambodia could avoid losing its trade preferences if political and civic spaces were opened and national law and practice were brought in line with international rights obligations.