Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada


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International development projects in Cambodia

International development projects in Cambodia

CIDA disbursements in Cambodia: 2011-2012

CIDA disbursements in Cambodia
Amount in $M
Long-term development assistance
Total 30.48
Portrait of a young Cambodian woman holding a child. © ACDI-CIDA/Roger LeMoyne


Cambodia is recovering from almost three decades of war, civil conflict, and economic stagnation. After the defeat of the Khmer Rouge Regime, the country was left with few functioning institutions, government records, or educated citizens. Today, Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy with an elected government. The country has achieved significant development progress since the 1990s by effectively transitioning towards a multi-party democracy, by considerably reducing poverty among Cambodians, and by moving towards a market-oriented economic model.

Steady government reforms and export-led private sector development have made Cambodia a strong economic performer, averaging nearly 10 percent GDP growth between 1998 and 2008. Having weathered the global economic downturn, the Cambodian economy achieved a robust annual growth rate of 7.1 percent in 2011, thanks largely to expanded agricultural production and tourism. In terms of private investment, in 2012 Cambodia moved up five places in the Doing Business Index, ranking 133rd out of 185 countries—right behind India.

The World Bank estimates that Cambodia has achieved the critical Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty by 2010. However, one out of four Cambodians still lives on less than $1.25 a day and the majority of them live in rural areas. Although Cambodia's progress in achieving other MDGs related to health and education is solid, Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in southeast Asia and only ranks 138 out of 187 countries on the United Nations' 2012 Human Development Index.

Cambodians' nutritional standards are particularly low. In fact, nearly 40 percent of Cambodian children remain chronically malnourished and micronutrient-deficient. Cambodia also continues to face environmental challenges related to the effective management of the country's natural resources, as well as serious governance issues, including corruption and allegations of restrictions on dissenting voices and opposition parties.

Cambodia's economy is still based on agriculture and it is in need of increased diversification, efficiency, and competitiveness. The fact that Cambodia continues to import most of its food from neighbouring countries has negatively affected the country's balance of trade over the years. Improving agricultural productivity has been extremely difficult since all forms of private ownership and land titles were destroyed during the war and to this day, Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. An estimated four to six million landmines and other unexploded ordnances remain in Cambodia and affect more than half of the country. In total, some 649 square kilometers of the country still need to be cleared of explosives.

As part of the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012, Canada is restructuring and streamlining its operations. By June 2013, all international development funding for country-to-country (bilateral) programs in Cambodia will end and all existing project and contract work will be completed. Cambodia will continue to remain eligible for support through Canada's Southeast Asia Regional Program as well as through Multilateral and Global programs (including international humanitarian assistance when needed) and Partnerships with Canadians programs.

Thematic Focus

Canada's international development program in Cambodia is closely aligned with Cambodia's National Strategic Development Plan Update 2009-2013 which focuses on promoting good governance and creating an enabling environment for sustainable economic growth, including expanding private sector development, agricultural productivity, land reform, and mine clearance.

The goal of DFATD's Country Program in Cambodia is to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth and increased food security.

Economic growth

Canada supports efforts to help the rural poor to clear their land of deadly land mines so it can be used for agriculture. Canada also supports the rural poor to gain legal access to land titles using efficient, transparent and participatory community methods. Canada has been a major donor in land administration in Cambodia and has played an active role in the Land Management Working Group.

Food security

Canada supports small-scale agriculture efforts through the creation of rural cooperatives, improved agricultural extension services for farmers, and increased farmers' and traders' access to market information. In recent years, and as part of Canada's global Food Aid Convention Commitment, Canada has also enabled extremely vulnerable Cambodians to meet their basic food needs and to better adapt to natural disasters through a combination of Food for Education, Food for Work, and Food Assistance programs. Together, Canada's support for food security efforts have helped increase both agricultural productivity and the amount of safe and nutritious food available to the rural poor in Cambodia.

Progress on Aid Effectiveness

The Royal Government of Cambodia adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages) and the Busan Partnership For Effective Development Cooperation. With the support of donors such as Canada, the Cambodian Government is increasingly supporting programmatic approaches, as well as the use of national government systems for service delivery. In recent years, the government has considerably improved its transparency and accountability in results reporting through the development of joint development monitoring indicators and the establishment of a publicly accessible international cooperation data base.

Achievements 2011-2012

Economic growth

  • 108,000 systematic land titles were distributed in 2011. In total, Canada had helped the Royal Government of Cambodia issue nearly 2 million land titles by 2012. The average cost for issuing a title in Cambodia today is $10—three times lower than the original estimate based on global experiences.
  • 10 square kilometers of land were cleared and as many as 220,000 Cambodians benefited from land demining in 2011. The demining of rural lands has enabled local communities to use the land for productive agriculture, schools and health clinics, or rural road and home construction. Hundreds of lives have been saved thanks to demining activities. Casualties in the three provinces in which the Clearing for Results Project is active have declined from 145 in 2010 down to 98 in 2011—a decrease of 30 percent—well above the annual reduction target of 10 percent.

Food security

  • More than 680,000 extremely vulnerable Cambodians were reached through Food for Education, Food for Work and Food Assistance programs in 2011. As a result of Canada's contribution to these programs an estimated 150,000 daily breakfasts were delivered. Through these school meals, girls and boys have a chance to stay in school and eat what is for many of them the main nutritious meal of the day.

Achievements 2010-2011

Economic growth

  • Through financial and technical support to eight systematic land registration teams in five provinces, Canada supported the delivery of approximately 73,000 land titles during 2010-2011.
  • Canada's contribution also supported efforts to demine more than 40.3 square kilometers of land between 2006 and 2011, thereby helping to reduce total human casualties related to landmines and unexploded ordnances from 450 in 2006 and down to 98 in 2011.

Food security

  • Canada supported efforts to provide agricultural marketing training to farmers which resulted in an average annual revenue increase of $125-130 per farmer, an increase of approximately 20 percent, for farmers that implemented the training. With project support, Agriculture Marketing Offices to improve farmers' understanding of market dynamics and information were established throughout Cambodia's 24 provinces.

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