Editorial: Cambodia on the Way toward Full Potential of Physical Infrastructure

AKP Phnom Penh, Currently, physical infrastructure situation in Cambodia can be compared to that of some countries in the region, but in 10 to 20 years, if peace and political stability continue to reign in the country as now, this potential sector would be able to catch up with that of some developed countries.

Despite infrastructure improvement in Cambodia, some related services have not been well arranged. This is undeniable. But with the firm and clear policy of the Royal Government of Cambodia, which always gives priority to infrastructure development, Cambodia will certainly be able to upgrade its infrastructure in in the next 10 to 20 years.

After the civil war ended 21 years ago, physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges have been renovated and constructed. Air transportation, which was interrupted at that time, is now becoming very active with different destinations. Now, we are moving to rehabilitate and promote rail and water transportation.

According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Cambodia has in total 16,292 kilometres of national and provincial roads without counting many bridges across different rivers in the country. For air service, the three international airports welcome about 10 million passengers a year. In response to the growth in air passengers, Cambodia has approved the construction of at least three more airports � the new airports in Siem Reap province and Phnom Penh capital, and another one in BotumSakor, Koh Kong province. For railway and waterway services, they are now in the rehabilitation process after being abandoned for many years and we hope that they will become active and play an important role in the national economic cycle in the near future.

Today, Mar. 22, 2019, Cambodia broke ground its first-ever expressway from Phnom Penh capital to the port city of Sihanoukville under the presidency of Prime Minister SamdechAkkaMohaSenaPadeiTecho Hun Sen. This is a big historical event in the country's transport sector. In the next four years, we will witness this expressway's potential and significant contribution in the national economy.

Do those infrastructure achievements happen accidentally? The answer is of course not. Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway and other infrastructure achievements have followed the precise master plan with just analysis by national and international experts.

Before starting the construction today, Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway project has been under a lot of feasibility studies since 2006. This 190-kilometre-long and US$2-billion-worth new road will reduce the length and time needed between the two destinations on the National Road No. 4, which responds well to demand of trade and other economic activities.

Does Cambodia stop its infrastructure development ambition with this expressway construction project? Of course not. As mentioned above, the Royal Government is planning to develop the physical infrastructure sector to be more competitive. Cambodia planned to build another expressway connecting Phnom Penh to Bavet, at the border with Vietnam. Now, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has already finalised the feasibility study of this expressway of 160 kilometres long with an estimated construction cost of some US$3.8 billion. According to the master plan revealed by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Cambodia planned to build 850 kilometres of expressway by 2020 with a total cost of US$9 billion and 2,230 kilometres by 2040 with a total cost of US$26 billion.

Based on the existing master plan and the implementation of these above-said projects, Cambodia is on a path toward full potential of physical infrastructure within 10 to 20 years, therefore let's join hands to maintain peace and political stability in the country so that we can realise our goals of becoming an upper middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income economy in 2050.

Source:Agency Kampuchea Press