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Cambodia seeks foreign aid despite global woes

Cambodia seeks foreign aid despite global woes

Cambodia's prime minister asked foreign donors Thursday to continue providing economic assistance despite the global financial crisis and promised the passage of an anti-corruption law.
Speaking to donor representatives at the opening of a two-day meeting to coordinate assistance, Hun Sen said aid would be used for health care, education and other social improvements.
Cambodia is one of the world's poorest countries and is heavily reliant on foreign aid.
"Concern for the crisis ahead should not interrupt the continuous mission of poverty reduction and sustainable development," Hun Sen said.
Foreign governments and international aid agencies such as the World Bank have expressed concern about corruption and inefficiency in Cambodia's administration of aid.
The country must quickly pass a long-delayed law to fight corruption in order to build confidence among foreign investors, said Qimiao Fan, the country manager for the World Bank.
"Passing the law will be an important signal, providing investors and development partners with the confidence to make more long-term commitments in Cambodia," he told the meeting.
Hun Sen tried to assure donors he was committed to accountability for their aid and said he is strongly committed to ensure the rapid conclusion and adoption of the law.
It was not known how much donors would pledge at this year's meeting, but last year, Cambodia received US$689 million in aid. Several government ministers declined comment on a specific figure, but a senior official at the Finance Ministry, Hang Chuon Naron, cited a figure of about $900 million.