The ADB and Cambodia Are Finalizing a COVID-19 Strategy

Boats travel along the Mekong River in front of high-rise properties and under-construction buildings in Phnom Penh on May 12, 2020. (Photo: AFP)
  • Jazmyn Himel
  • May 24, 2020 5:36 AM

The $250 million loan program is to cover businesses as well as individuals in need 

PHNOM PENH—The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is working with the Cambodian government to finalize details of a $250 million program in response to the pandemic, which would be funded through an ADB loan, ADB Country Director Sunniya Durrani-Jamal said on May 20. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic Response Option loan will, she said, “include credit support for MSMEs [micro, small, and medium enterprises], as well as income support for the poorest families in Cambodia, including people working in the informal sector who are facing economic hardships.

“To promote local business activity, ADB regularly advocates for simplifying business registration and tax filing, improving financial literacy and enhancing financial management in its policy discussions with the government, private sector banks and non-bank financial institutions,” Durrani-Jamal said in an email interview. 

The pandemic has caused some delays in ADB’s projects and program implementations, particularly in March and April, Durrani-Jamal said, adding that the setbacks would not affect them. 

‘Now, implementation of those projects and programs are almost back to normal,” she said. “In terms of funding, there is no cut.”

Under the 2019-2023 ADB Cambodia Country Partnership Strategy, the ADB has committed loans, grants and technical assistance for a plethora of sectors. And this will continue as agreed despite the pandemic, Durrani-Jamal said. 

Regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Option loan, she said, “[t]hese initiatives aim to improve the access to and the quality of services for Cambodians, as well as improving the business environment, which is now much needed following the COVID-19 shock and the severe decline in Cambodia’s GDP.”

The country’s main priority should be to continue containing the virus, Durrani-Jamal said, “[w]ithout which recovery of the tourism, services and manufacturing sectors will be difficult.” 



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