Ongoing China-assisted rural water supply and road projects have been playing a crucial role in supporting socioeconomic development and alleviating poverty in Cambodia's countryside, a senior official from the Southeast Asian nation said recently.
From 2017, the projects－Phases I and II－managed by Cambodia's Ministry of Rural Development, have proved successful, Chan Darong, the ministry's secretary of state and spokesman, told Xinhua News Agency.
He said China Jiangxi Corp for International Economic& Technical Cooperation has been the contractor for the rural water supply project, while Shanghai Construction Group Co Ltd and Yunnan Construction and Investment Holding Group Co Ltd have been contractors for the rural road project.
"These companies have obtained recognition and support from the government, local authorities and people of Cambodia," he said, adding that these Chinese companies, besides digging wells and constructing roads, have donated medical products to rural families and teaching materials to rural schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the implementation of the projects, Chinese staff also trained hundreds of Cambodian engineers and technical workers, he said. "This socially responsible behavior is a concrete manifestation of cultural interlinkage."
He added that since the outbreak of COVID-19, most China-assisted local projects under the MRD have not been affected by the pandemic.
The official, who is also the project director of the China-Aid Cambodia Rural Water Supply and Rural Road Projects Phase II, said the projects have played a vital role in improving the national economy and rural people's livelihoods in Cambodia.
"Previously, women and children in rural areas usually went to collect water far from their homes for daily consumption. But now they no longer need to do that because wells dug by the China-aided project are available near their homes," he said.
"For the rural road project, it has greatly benefited locals, allowing them to use reliable and convenient roads and providing them year-round access to markets and social services. There is also no dust during the dry season, which affects their health, nor mud during the rainy season," he added.
The official praised China for having paid more attention to small and medium-sized social welfare projects and public facilities, saying that these projects directly helped improve the livelihoods of rural people in Cambodia.
He said when he participated in site inspections, many villagers told him that the completed roads and water supply facilities had improved both their livelihoods and health.
The official added that during project implementation, Chinese companies also provided employment opportunities for local Cambodians.
"The people who were offered jobs obtained knowledge learned from Chinese engineers, wages and jobs that were near their homes," he said.
The official said friendship between Cambodia and China has a long history of brotherhood and that China's help is sincere and pragmatic.
"These projects are clear evidence of our cooperation toward building a community with a shared future between Cambodia and China. I'd like to express my sincere appreciation to the Chinese government for its contribution and to the Chinese companies for their dedicated hard work. I sincerely hope that all Chinese employees remain safe during this pandemic."
He said the MRD will continue to cooperate with Chinese counterparts to manage current and subsequent projects based on the general framework of the rural water supply and rural road grant agreement reached by the two governments.
The official believes China will continue to support Cambodia until the Southeast Asian nation achieves its goal of supplying clean water to all rural residents by 2025.
"It is hoped we can work together for Cambodia's 12 million rural residents to obtain clean water by 2025 and to construct as many rural roads as possible in Cambodia. I have found that this is a significant contribution to the development of the national economy in Cambodia."
Source: China Daily
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