Cambodia's population numbers 17.2 million people and around 75% of them reside in rural areas. 27% are between the ages of 10 and 24, and more than 30% of Cambodians are under the age of 30, making the population one of the youngest in South-East Asia.
Cambodia achieved outstanding socio-economic progress in the last twenty years. As a result, the country achieved remarkable poverty reduction and enhanced human development. However, the socio-economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic have caused a contraction in the steady growth since 2019. Almost 50% of the population remain highly vulnerable, high levels of malnutrition persist, and progress is needed to maintain sustainable socio-economic growth, to further reduce vulnerability and poverty and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The EU has been a major development partner of Cambodia since the early 1990s. We have funded initiatives in sectors such as education, agriculture, public financial management and trade-related assistance, which have benefited millions of Cambodians.
There are 3 priority areas for EU cooperation with Cambodia during the period 2021-2027. These are
- green growth and decent jobs
- education and skills
- good governance
In the 2021-2024 period, the EU will commit €62 million (40%) to the first of these, €48 million (31%) to the second and €37 million (24%) to the third. A further €8 million (5%) has been allocated to support measures.
The overarching aim of this support is to promote Cambodia’s connectivity to ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
Green growth and decent jobs
This priority area has 2 main objectives. The first is to helpbuild sustainable food systems, where the emphasis is on nature-positive food production. The second objective is to promote sustainable value chains,where the emphasis is on improving integration with regional and international markets, especially in the food sector with greener products.
Education and skills development
The first objective under this priority is to promote inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities. The second is to increase the number of youth and adults with relevant skills for decent jobs and entrepreneurship.
Programmes in this area target 2 elements: government and civil society, and the trade and business climate. The objectives of government and civil society programmes are to improve and reform public finance management and strengthen the rule of law. Under the trade and business climate element, the objective is to improve trade facilitation, including customs and standards.
Support measures and Team Europe initiatives
There are 2 suggested Team Europe Initiatives
- promoting sustainable landscapes and forests and agriculture
- 'Build back better' - green energy and industrial value chains
The first is supported by France, Belgium, Czechia and Switzerland, as well as the EU and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The second is supported by the EU, Germany, Sweden, EIB and Czechia.
In addition to the above, the EU will also support civil society measures that aim to involve a wide range of non-governmental players.