The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has signed an ODA loan agreement totalling up to ¥318mn with the Cambodian government to finance the Sihanoukville Port Special Economic Zone Development Project.

The project will develop a seventy hectare special economic zone (SEZ) adjacent to the Sihanoukville Port – Cambodia’s only international seaport. The proceeds of the loan will be used for engineering services and design prior to land grading and the development of roads and power facilities. The loan will also finance technical assistance for institutional aspects of the SEZ programme, including the enhancement of administrative capacity, development of the legal and regulatory framework, and support for investment promotion activities.

Through the improvement of infrastructure and administrative procedures, the SEZ development policy aims to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in Cambodia. From 1994 to 2003, FDI inflow in Cambodia was just one tenth of that in Vietnam. JBIC will also, as part of this project, assist the Cambodian government by providing policy advice regarding the legal and institutional aspects of SEZ development policies in collaboration with the World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The project comes under the Japanese government’s new initiative, launched at the CLV (Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam)-Japan Summit in December 2005, to support private-sector investment and trade for the development of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

JBIC has already supported the rehabilitation and expansion of the Sihanoukville Port as well as a telecommunication network project, and has also provided the Cambodian government with policy proposals on investment promotion.