Cambodia’s civil engineering industry burgeons

As engineering projects become a stable of the country’s economy, Cambodia looks to attract international interest

Despite Cambodia’s history of poverty and civil war, the country has recently experienced a boom in the civil engineering industry. Several civil engineering projects are currently scheduled for development in Cambodia, and while the projects vary as to their funding and purpose, all of these efforts may help the developing nation establish a stronger infrastructure for the future.

Many of Cambodia’s current civil engineering projects were initiated to assist citizens by establishing a stable infrastructure of roads, utility providers, and other necessities. Due to the effects of over 30 years of conflict, basic life needs such as water, transportation, education, and healthcare remain in high demand among Cambodia’s people. Several civil engineering construction projects have been proposed to help meet these challenges. By providing these necessities, planners hope to improve the daily living conditions of residents, and eventually position Cambodia to develop a stable economy.

Some of the civil engineering projects that are currently under development in Cambodia include the North-western Rural Development Project, the Stung River Dam, and the Referral Hospital project.  The North-western Rural Development Project aims to expand the roadways in select Cambodian rural areas, including Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, and Siem Reap. This project will also construct schools, medical facilities, and markets in these regions and develop other facilities such as sanitation services and community buildings.
Another civil engineering project that aims to improve the lives of Cambodian citizens is the Stung River Dam construction, which is on track to be completed in 2013.  The project is backed by the Huadian Corporation, a Chinese electric conglomerate that develops power through the use of water, solar energy, and wind.  Huadian expects the dam to provide up to one billion kilowatt hours of energy each year.

The Referral Hospital project is being developed with the goal of improving the quality of healthcare services provided at the medical facility by adding multiple buildings, including an operating theatre, a maternity ward, a tuberculosis care unit, and administrative offices.  The ultimate goal of the Referral Hospital construction is to allow more Cambodians access to quality medical care.

Tracking Project Funding
The funding sources for these projects vary, but the majority of the funds are made available through lending institutions.  The North-western Rural Development Project received the bulk of its financing through loans obtained by the Asian Development Bank. Similarly, the Referral Hospital project is almost entirely financed through loans from the World Bank.

The Stung River Dam project, however, is being financed through a unique, multi-year operating agreement between the Huadian Corporation and the Cambodian government.  Under the terms of the agreement, Huadian agrees to pay for the initial construction in return for receiving the profits from the dam for the next 30 years. At the end of the 30-year period, Huadian will cede control of the finished dam back to Cambodia, providing the national government with an additional stream of income.

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