Loan approved for completion of National Road No. 21

Loan approved for completion of National Road No. 21

A year after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen requested an additional loan from his Korean counterpart to complete the upgrade of National Road No. 21, the loan was finally approved in September.

The Republic of South Korea will provide the Cambodian government a concessional loan of USD11.5 million to complete the second phase of National Road No.21 which is 8.6 kilometres long. 

The state-run online government news outlet Fresh News reported that the two counterparts inked the funding agreement on 6 September 2017 in Seoul. The signing event was presided over by Cambodian Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance Vongsy Visoth and executive director of the Exim Bank of Korea Chang Young-Hoon. The event was held on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF). 

The 63.6 kilometre-long National Road No.21 needs to be rehabilitated from the Takhmao roundabout to Chrey Thom in Kandal province.  The first phase of the road renovation is 55 kilometres, and the second phase, which has just received funding approval, is 8.6 kilometres.    

The road connects from the road junction in Takhmao town to the Chrey Thom Cambodia-Vietnam border gate in Kandal province, on which 58 bridges and culverts need to be constructed. The road will have an asphalt and concrete surface and is estimated to cost approximately USD61 million. USD52 million of this was sourced from a loan from South Korea’s Exim Bank and the rest from the Cambodian government’s budget. 

Since the commencement of construction in 2015, the completion of the national highway upgrade is expected to take 36 months under the technical supervision of international company Dasan and construction by Korean company Hanshi.

The Khmer Times quoted the prime minister as saying, at a ceremony to mark the resumption of construction in 2016, that, “In the second stage of this project, there are just over 10 kilometres left. I think this [USD10 million] would not be a problem since South Korea has already granted hundreds of millions of dollars for Cambodia. I can say that I am proud of the foreign policy that both countries have formed.”

According to the prime minister, National Road No. 21 is a primary road between Phnom Penh to Vietnam and will become one of the main arteries in the region, providing greater access and mobility to rural communities and a strong contribution to the local economy. The road, moreover, is set to become part of a road network to transport goods to and from Phnom Penh and Vietnam.

Operated by the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea EXIM Bank), EDCF was established in 1987 to support developing countries in their efforts to achieve industrialisation and economic stability. As a pillar of Korea’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), EDCF supports concessional loans to the countries to implement development projects in various sectors, such as transportation, energy, water supply, sanitation and education.

According to the Cambodian CDC, as of 2016, Korea has provided approximately USD526 million to Cambodia. The partnership between the two countries has been further enhanced through the joint implementation of the 2016-2020 partnership strategy which focuses on areas of transport, water management, public health, education and rural development.

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