Donor Forum Put on Hold by Goverment

The government has postponed a top-level meeting with its foreign donors scheduled for November, a move that comes just over a week after a displeased World Bank revealed its decision to freeze all future loans to Cambodia. In an Aug 17 letter to World Bank country manager Qimiao Fan, Finance Minister Keat Chhon asked the Bank to inform the country’s donors that the Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum would be postponed indefinitely. Held roughly every 16 months, the Forum is a chance for donors to assess the government’s progress on development targets on everything from school enrollment rates to anti-corruption reform, and to pledge their financial support for the coming year. Cambodia’s donors pledge a total of $1.1 billion in 2010, just under half the government’s annual budget… CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap, chairman of the National Assembly’s Economy, Fiance, Banking and Audit Committee, conceded yesterday that the delay to the donor meeting would hurt, but added that the government had reserves to make up for at least some of the funding donors might pull. He denied that decision to postpone the Forum was related to the World Bank’s move to freeze lending over evictions of poor families from the Boeng Kak lake area.