People's Daily Online (China)
The Cambodian government will flow more capital into the rural areas and the agricultural sector to build infrastructures, roads and irrigation systems in collaboration with private enterprises, so as to reduce poverty to its minimum level, said Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh on Thursday.
The government is also trying to improve the transportation system to assist the farmers to access their products to the markets and make their living better, he said at a ceremony marking the International Day of Poverty Reduction, which also featured the launch of the Cambodian Human Development Report in 2007.
Lack of professional personnel and land resources are major obstacles to poverty reduction in Cambodia, so that the government has to guarantee the poor people's rights to land and persuade parents to send their children to school, he said.
The government views poverty reduction as one of its top priorities in the national strategic development plan for the 2006- 2010 period and has realized macro-economic and political stability to ensure the goal to be made true, he added.
Meanwhile, Planning Minister Chhay Than said the government has fully and properly implemented the national plan and is confident that the objectives of poverty reduction can be achieved.
In addition, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and the UN Development Program Resident Representative Douglas Gardner said a key challenge facing Cambodia today is how to ensure that the benefits of a growing economy reach the 75 percent of Cambodians who live in rural areas.
The gap between Cambodia's urban areas and the rural poor areas continues to grow and needs to be tackled with vigor and urgency, he said, adding that the poverty rate in the rural areas currently stands at around 39 percent, compared with five percent in Phnom Penh.
According to official figures, the poverty rate in Cambodia has been brought down from 47 percent to 35 percent in the past decade and the economic growth rate stood at 11.2 percent in average in the past three years.
Poverty rates vary in different regions of the country. It stands at 52 percent in the north and northeast region, 43 percent in the Tonle Sap region, 32 percent in the Mekong Delta plains, and 28 percent in the coastal zone, according to figures released at the ceremony.
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