How we are helping
2017-18 Total Australian ODA Estimated Outcome
2018-19 Bilateral Budget Estimate
2018-19 Total Australian ODA Estimate
Cambodia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but unequal distribution of economic gains means many Cambodians still struggle to access quality, affordable essential services. We will continue delivering development programs to improve infrastructure, increase farmers' incomes and deliver better quality health and education outcomes. These will also focus on vulnerable people, including women, people with a disability, and the poorest Cambodians. In line with the Foreign Policy White Paper, we will promote sustainable development aimed at reducing poverty and improving gender equitable outcomes, including through strong engagement with the private sector.
Cambodia remains the poorest ASEAN country by GNI per capita (World Bank, 2016), though its rapid economic growth saw it reach lower-middle income status in 2015. Its latest Human Development Index ranking at 143 out of 188 countries (UNDP, 2016) is commensurate with its GNI per capita.
While poverty continues to fall, the pace has slowed significantly. The UN estimates that 13.5 per cent of Cambodians live below the national poverty line, down from 53 per cent in 2004. However, many Cambodian households, especially in rural areas, remain highly vulnerable to slipping back. These households find it difficult to withstand shocks such as serious health events or sudden unemployment. This is exacerbated by limited access to public services, high levels of informal employment and low levels of education and skills.
Australia is a leading bilateral grant donor to Cambodia. In 2017-18, Australia's ODA estimated outcome was $89.1 million. This included an estimated $56.1 million in bilateral funding delivered in Cambodia through DFAT.
During 2015–18, Australia's aid investments have been prioritising three key objectives: (1) improving access to infrastructure; (2) increasing agricultural productivity; and (3) better health and education. Consistent with Australia's Foreign Policy White Paper, we will focus across all our programs on supporting increased prosperity and stability, particularly through inclusive participation, governance, women's empowerment and disability. Our support will prioritise innovative approaches to delivering aid which work closely with the private sector to drive growth and poverty reduction, and will contribute to achieving Australia's overall aid for trade target by 2020.
Improving access to essential infrastructure
Improving access to infrastructure is critical to both economic growth and poverty reduction. The centrepiece of Australia's support is the innovative Investing in Infrastructure (3i) program, which is working with the private sector — particularly small to medium enterprises — to expand access to electricity and piped, treated water in local communities. Research commissioned by the program confirms that access to improved electricity and/or piped, treated water carries benefits for women and girls in terms of time and energy savings, and improved safety, hygiene and wellbeing. Given private utilities operate on a 'user-pays' approach, 3i provides financial incentives for these utilities to connect low-income households to services.
Investments for improving access to essential infrastructure in Cambodia
Increasing agricultural productivity and farmer incomes
We are continuing our longstanding support for Cambodia's agricultural sector. The Cambodian Agricultural Value Chain Phase II (CAVAC II) program provides access to modern farming techniques, lifts productivity and crop quality, and improves the incomes of thousands of farmers. CAVAC II also focuses on rice exports through improving seed varieties and developing export markets. CAVAC also works to increase rural women's economic empowerment.
CAVAC is recognised globally as a leading example of aid delivered in collaboration with the private sector.
Investments for increasing agricultural productivity and farmer incomes in Cambodia
Better health and education outcomes
Continuing to strengthen Cambodia's health system is a key priority for our aid program. Poor health increases many Cambodian families' vulnerability to slipping back into poverty. It also holds back economic growth by lowering workforce participation and reducing workers' productivity. We are working to strengthen Cambodia's health financing system to improve the quality of care and its value for money. We also continue to tackle the ongoing challenge of improving access to, and quality of, reproductive, maternal and neonatal health — particularly for women working in garment factories or living in remote communities.
Our support to Cambodia's education sector through our long-running Australia Awards Scholarships program has seen more than 750 of Cambodia's most talented people receive scholarships to study in Australia since 1994. Many of these scholars have become leaders in government, the private sector and civil society. The high-profile Australia Awards Scholarships program has helped build a reputation for quality Australian education and strong people-to-people links between our two countries. It remains a core component of Australia's aid program in Cambodia.
Investments for better health outcomes in Cambodia
Investments for better education outcomes in Cambodia
In 2016-17, the Australian aid program to Cambodia achieved these tangible results:
- Support for disability services to 26,447 people (6,590 female), surpassing our goal by more than 40 per cent.
- Shelter, counselling, legal aid and peer support services provided to over 7,000 women and their families affected by violence.
- Support to 11 water and 14 energy companies to increase the financial viability of bringing piped, treated water and reliable electricity to rural communities, benefitting over 212,000 Cambodians (in excess of targets), 51 per cent of whom were women.
- Rehabilitation of flood damaged roads and drainage infrastructure, which enhanced resilience to flooding in the future and provided employment for unskilled labourers, 32 per cent of whom were women.
- Completion of seven new irrigation schemes as planned, to provide 8,368 smallholder farming households with reliable, affordable water throughout the seasons and climatic changes.
- Successfully transitioned management and implementation of the Health Equity Fund, the program that subsidises health care for the poorest 20 per cent of the Cambodian population, from external donors to Government of Cambodia.