Despite Corruption Criticisms, Cambodia Gains USD1B Aid Pledge

A view of Phnom Penh's central market. Despite concerns over the country's record of corruption, donors have pledged USD1 billion for Cambodia. Photo by: ruben i / CC BY 2.0 ruben iCC BY 2.0

Donors have scaled up their aid for Cambodia despite their concerns over the country’s record of corruption, IRIN says.

Donor countries and financial institutions pledged to provide USD1 billion in aid to the Southeast Asian country in 2010 during a two-day conference in Phnom Pehn. In 2009, donors pledged to provide approximately USD950 million to Cambodia, IRIN notes.

The donors, however, expressed concern over the progress of anti-corruption measures in the country, which was ranked the 22nd most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International in 2009. The World Bank, in particular, said it was unconvinced of the progress made by the Cambodian government.

“It is important for the government to take the lead in aligning resources to development priorities,” Annette Dixon, head of the World Bank office in the country, said during the conference.

Activists also raised some concerns about corruption in Cambodia. Some have noted that much of the financial aid delivered by donors in 2009 was diverted from the projects that it was intended for.

Cambodia passed an anti-corruption law in March 2010, which requires government officials to disclose their wealth. The measure was praised by several lawmakers but also earned criticisms, particularly on its inclusion of jail time for whistleblowers. Some critics have also said the law was hastily passed.

As reported by Devex, the anti-corruption law attracted international attention after Cambodian officials threatened to expel Douglas Broderick, the United Nations representative to the country, over his comment on the anti-corruption law. The officials said Broderick’s comments were “unwarranted” and a “flagrant and unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Cambodia.”

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.