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Japan Provides Nearly $200 Million in Loans to Cambodia for Covid-19 Crisis

PHNOM PENH: Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Ambassador of Japan to Cambodia, Mikami Masahiro, signed an exchange of letters and related documents on the provision of concessional loans with an approximate total of US $185 million (20 billion yen), for the second phase of the "The Covid-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan" project between Japan and Cambodia, at the Peace Palace on Wednesday morning.

Japan's lending to Cambodia is now in its second phase, with the first phase providing more than US $227 million dollars in loans in 2020, to support the implementation of the Royal Government’s policy in response to the health, social and economic impacts of Covid-19, especially on social aid for the poor and vulnerable. According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Royal Government of Cambodia has not yet used that loan. In addition, the Government of Japan has also provided ambulances, vaccine cabinets, medical equipment, and 1.3 million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine to Cambodia.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic began, the Royal Government has issued a number of mechanisms responding to this crisis with a total budget around US $2.3 billion dollars. The release of the national budget is intended to support the lives of people affected by Covid-19, pay wages to workers in the garment and textile sector, as well as workers in the tourism sector, and to buy vaccines to inject people.

On 27 January 2020, Cambodia reported the first case of the Covid-19 virus in a man from Wuhan, China. After the presence of Covid-19 was detected in Cambodia, the Royal Government began announcing the closure of a number of sectors. The 20 February community event in 2021 was the longest running large-scale transmission event in the Kingdom. After a successful vaccination campaign, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the full reopening of the country on 1 November 2021, then declared the end of the 20 February event on 20 December. The Prime Minister, however, still continues to urge vigilance in the fight against Covid-19, including the need for swift vaccination.

Prior to the pandemic, Cambodia had an average economic growth rate of around 7%, which declined by 3.1% in 2020, they saw an increase of 2.4% by 2021. The Asian Development Bank forecasts that Cambodia's economy will grow by 5.5% in 2022.

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