The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Kingdom of Cambodia signed a USD33 million sovereign loan and a USD10 million grant from the Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Intermediary Fund (Pandemic Fund) on Sep. 26, 2023 to support Cambodia's cross-border livestock health and value-chain infrastructure improvement. The financing will strengthen animal and human health safety by improving production and hygiene through the One Health approach, which recognizes the interrelation among the health of people, animals, and their shared environment. It will also promote cross-border livestock trading and enhance the availability, affordability, safety, and quality of livestock products among countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion, including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Viet Nam, Thailand, and China.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has alerted the world that zoonotic diseases continue to pose risks to the global public health systems and induce enormous economic costs. The Project, as one of the most innovative projects of AIIB, will support Cambodia’s livestock health improvement and disease control with the aim of enhancing the competitiveness of the livestock production chain. It is essential to prevent viruses from spilling over from animals to humans. The avoidable losses are far greater than the costs of combating zoonotic diseases,” said Urjit Patel, AIIB Vice President for Investment Operations Region 1 (South Asia, the Pacific Islands and South East Asia).
He added, “As Cambodia moves up to the middle-income status, it will need to strengthen the focus on value chain transformation, improved health infrastructure, supportive one health policies, and proactive market integration. As many of our low-income members are particularly vulnerable to a global health crisis, a well-designed one health project will boost economic growth and enhance preparedness for a future crisis. This pioneering and innovative Project is meant to achieve such goals.”
On the same day, AIIB and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed the Special Fund Window (SFW) Contribution Agreement in Respect of Special Fund Window for Less Developed Members to buy down the applicable interest rate. The Cambodia project will be one of the first projects under the SFW.
AIIB Vice President for Strategy and Policy Danny Alexander, said,“Serving our less developed members is a key priority for AIIB. The operationalization of the SFW constitutes a critical milestone in AIIB’s efforts to make our financing more affordable to its less developed members. We are grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for being the first contributor to the SFW and look forward to welcoming other donors joining this Fund.”
H.E. Pen Thirong, Under Secretary of State Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Kingdom of Cambodia said in his address, “This project marks a significant milestone in our commitment to safeguarding the well-being of our citizens and the environment. The Kingdom of Cambodia will be able to strengthen the livestock value chain to achieve a positive impact on economic development. We are grateful for the support received, which will enable us to enhance our capacity and expertise in addressing the interconnected challenges of animal and human health. This initiative serves as a great example of how international cooperation and financial assistance can drive positive change and create a healthier future for all.”
In July 2023, AIIB successfully obtained the approval of the Pandemic Fund grant to increase the concessionality of AIIB’s loan to Cambodia. Out of nearly 180 Pandemic Fund proposals totaling USD2.5 billion against an envelope of USD338 million, 19 proposals were selected. The Pandemic Fund is the first multilateral financing mechanism dedicated to providing multiyear grants to help low- and middle-income countries become better prepared for future pandemics.
The Project, which is cofinanced with the Asian Development Bank, will support (i) the construction of a vaccine center and the establishment of disease control zones to strengthen the prevention and monitoring systems for animal and zoonotic diseases; (ii) the refurbishment of the National Animal Health Research Institute, provincial animal health laboratories, and relevant facilities to upgrade the diagnostic and control functions of the diseases; (iii) the establishment of livestock value chain infrastructure with high standards of hygiene and sanitation; and (iv) the enhancement of policies and regulations for better health, safety, supply, and trade in livestock and livestock products.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank whose mission is financing the Infrastructure for Tomorrow—infrastructure with sustainability at its core. We began operations in Beijing in January 2016 and have since grown to 109 approved members worldwide. We are capitalized at USD100 billion and Triple-A-rated by the major international credit rating agencies. Collaborating with partners, AIIB meets clients’ needs by unlocking new capital and investing in infrastructure that is green, technology-enabled and promotes regional connectivity.