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Besides loaning Cambodia millions of dollars, Japan has also donated COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine refrigerators enabling the distribution of more effective vaccines, as well as ambulances and equipment
PHNOM PENH--The Japanese government has provided another $185 million loan to Cambodia to cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, this comes after Japan already loaned Cambodia $237 million in the wake of the pandemic.
“In cooperation with World Bank, the loan is intended to help curb the spread of the COVID-19, maintain and reactivate economic and social activities that will help protect the economy, and preserve social protection,” read a statement from the Japanese Embassy dated Jan. 12, 2022.
Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and Japanese Ambassador Mikami Masahiro signed the loan in the presence of Prime Minister Hun Sen at Peace Palace today.
The statement said that the loans are to counter the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for the provision of assistance to those most vulnerable: Cambodians living below the poverty line, the elderly, women, children and indigenous communities.
“As Cambodia continues to develop its economy, it is important that the quality of life of each and every citizen of the country improves alongside national economic development,” the embassy’s statement read.
While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where and how the Cambodian government has spent the money borrowed from Japan, the Japanese government has also provided aid in the form of COVID-19 vaccines via the COVAX facility, refrigerators allowing Cambodia to administer more effective vaccines such as Pfizer, along with ambulances and medical equipment.
By Hun Sen’s own estimation, Cambodia has spent some $2.3 billion in the past two years to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, equivalent to roughly 9 percent of Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 which totaled $25.29 billion—a figure expected to grow by 2.2 percent for 2021, according to the World Bank’s December 2021 estimates.