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ADB Provides Support for Three Infrastructure Projects in Cambodia

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today signed three project loan agreements with the Government of Cambodia to provide support for road network improvement, provincial water supply and sanitation, and smallholder farmers development in Tonle Sap.

The loan agreements were signed by Aun Pornmoniroth, Senior Minister, Ministry of Economy and Finance of Cambodia, and Samiuela Tukuafu, ADB Country Director for Cambodia.

The $70 million Road Network Improvement Project will improve 147-kilometer of road for all-weather conditions within the provinces of Prey Veng, Siem Reap, and Svay Rieng. The project will support national efforts to make the transport sector more efficient, safe, and disaster-resilient and further enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to better manage road assets through improved planning of operations and maintenance. Peoples’ awareness and observation of road safety and regulations is expected to improve.

The Provincial Water Supply and Sanitation Project will help expand and improve urban water supply and sanitation services and will benefit more than 209,000 people in Battambang, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. It will include the construction of water and waste water treatment plants, piped water connections, and sewer pipelines. The $50 million loan from ADB will be complemented with a $10 million grant from the Japan Fund for the Joint Crediting Mechanism, funded by the Government of Japan, a €40 million ($43.5 million) loan cofinancing from Agence Française de Développement, and a €4.67 million ($5.09 million) grant from the European Union’s Asia Investment Facility. The Government of Cambodia will contribute $10.54 million.

ADB’s additional financing for the Tonle Sap Poverty Reduction and Smallholder Development Project will further improve agriculture productivity and diversify Tonle Sap Basin’s economy to benefit smallholder farmers in Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, and Tboung Khmum. The additional funds will also include development initiatives that reflect the needs of local communities and address issues of low productivity, weak value chains, and high vulnerability to climate change. ADB will provide $50 million for the project, along with a $10 million concessional loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and $6 million equivalent from the Government of Cambodia.

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Brand Africa and biodiversity focus of the 9th edition of INVESTOUR

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Nearly 30 African Tourism ministers convened at INVESTOUR to debate and exchange experiences on the development of the sector in the continent. This unique Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa is jointly organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Casa Africa and FITUR.

Two round tables and a business-to-business component integrates the 9th edition of INVESTOUR that took place in the framework of FITUR, the Tourism Fair in Madrid. The first session, moderated by Thebe Ikalafeng, Chairman at Brand Africa, addressed branding strategies to position the African continent in the travel market.

“International tourist arrivals in Africa grew by around 8% for the second consecutive year with 62 million arrivals registered for 2017. These strong results that show the potential of tourism in Africa but also the prioritization of the sector in the development agenda in the continent,” said UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili.

“INVESTOUR has become a consolidated platform for sharing ideas and projects around the tourism sector in Africa. We started as a small summit and nine years later, nearly 30 African tourism ministers convene here to position the African continent, a topic that will occupy the debates in this year’s edition,” explained Luis Padrón, Director General of Casa Africa.

The second panel evaluated the added value of African biodiversity as a strong component of the tourism sector in the continent. Wildlife, reserves and geographic treasures make Africa unique with regard to its tourism offer. According to UNWTO research, wildlife watching travel represents 80% of the total annual tourist arrivals to Africa. However, it is mandatory to continue working on conservation and protection measures and to engage stakeholders of different nature such as governments, local communities, private sector recipients and the media.

Within that round table, the UNWTO/Chimelong Programme on Wildlife Conservation and Tourism was presented. The initiative, jointly implemented by UNWTO and the Chimelong Group, based in Guandong (China), aims at contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda through sustainable tourism and particularly wildlife conservation. The initiative comprises capacity building, advocacy and knowledge sharing methodologies and addresses multiple stakeholders such as governments, civil society and the media.

In the afternoon, tourism stakeholders gathered to discuss business opportunities in the continent. 15 inspiring projects were shared with the aim to build partnerships around tourism development in African nations.

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ADB VP Reaffirms Commitment to Support Bangladesh on Implementing SDGs

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Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Wencai Zhang, attending the Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF) in Dhaka today, reaffirmed ADB’s commitment to supporting Bangladesh in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and assisting the country in fulfilling its growth aspirations.

Complimenting Bangladesh on achieving the Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty incidence between 1990 and 2015, as well as those related to primary education, child mortality, maternal health, and safe drinking water and basic sanitation, Mr. Zhang said, “ADB stands ready to support Bangladesh in tackling challenges to meeting the SDGs, improving infrastructure, and boosting social development. Improving education quality, enhancing access to health, and creating more employment opportunities, particularly for women, are some of the challenges to be met to achieve the SDG targets.”

Mr. Zhang, in his remarks at the opening session of the BDF, noted that it is necessary to further boost investment to fulfill the country’s growth aspirations and move the economy to a higher growth trajectory. He also exchanged views with the Minister of Finance, Abul Maal A. Muhith, highlighting ADB’s robust and expanding partnership with Bangladesh.

The ADB Vice-President also noted that ADB’s country operations business plan for Bangladesh for the next three years reflects the government’s key development priorities for inclusive growth, with projects in infrastructure and social development.

ADB operations will address infrastructure development (transport, energy, and urban services sectors), rural infrastructure, skills development, climate and disaster resilience, and regional cooperation and integration. ADB will expand lending to $8 billion during 2016-2020 from $5 billion in 2011-2015. ADB will also continue to support Bangladesh’s regional cooperation and integration efforts, particularly in electricity sharing with neighbors, and implementation of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement.

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Ukraine pilots the removal of value-added tax on electric vehicles

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The Ukrainian Parliament has adopted a provisional exemption on value-added tax and excise tax for all electric vehicles for 2018. This regulation will be in effect on a temporary pilot basis for 2018. A more comprehensive regulation is being developed to create a sustainable environment for further development of electric mobility in Ukraine, as well as favorable conditions for investment opportunities in this market.

The announcement follows the formal launch of the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) in Ukraine in October 2017.

During the launch, the Ministry of Infrastructure announced a 40 per cent decrease in value-added tax for electric vehicles over the next five years, among other incentives. The GFEI has actively supported the such legislation through its national partners, the International Standardization Academy and the Ministry of Infrastructure.

Ukraine has experienced steady and strong growth in electric vehicle sales. The country now has one of the strongest electrification rates in the world, with sales tripling in 2017 alone.

Rob de Jong, the Head of UN Environment’s Air Quality and Mobility team, welcomed the news: “Countries that embrace electrification first will enjoy the greatest benefits. Policymakers are moving on this issue, and Ukraine is the latest example of an early adopter.”

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