Regional Economic Development Program, Cambodia

The Regional Economic Development (RED IV) program, co-financed by Switzerland and Germany, will be implemented in three north-western provinces of Cambodia. It aims at strengthening the capacity of sub-national and local governments to tackle economic development measures and supporting rural poor, in particular women, to increase their income and actively participate in local economic development, thereby reducing poverty of the rural population.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development

Agricultural services & market
SME development
01.01.2019 - 31.03.2022
CHF  4’061’200

With a constant growth rate of around 7% the Cambodian economy is undergoing a rapid transformation towards growing industry and service sectors. However, it is mainly concentrated in urban areas; the rural economy still relies on agriculture and is plagued by low productivity, limited diversification and scarce market information. Especially in SDC’s focus regions in northern Cambodia, business development services supporting jobs and employment opportunities in agriculture or micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) are rare. Irregular migration to Thailand is often the only option for the local rural youth. 

A wide administrative decentralization reform has been adopted since the early 2000s with the aim of strengthening local government capacities, so that they can serve the citizens better and promote inclusive, sustainable development. In spite of notable progress, sub-national administrations (SNAs) need more capacities coordinate local economic development initiatives and promote an enabling environment for a prosperous economy.

Objectives The economic and employment situation of disadvantaged rural households in selected provinces has improved.
Target groups The target groups are local government actors (3 provinces, 22 districts and 139 communes); 1,250 Jobseekers, 30,000 rural households (smallholder famers - men and women), including 500 women-led households (10% -13% of the target groups) and poor households (17.5 % in Banteay Meanchey (2016), 17 % in Oddar Meanchey (2015) and 23.5 % in Preah Vihear (2013).
Medium-term outcomes

The project comprises three outcomes:

  • Good governance for local economic development (LED)
  • Enabling local business environment for Micro, - Small, and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs), including skills and employability of workers
  • Promotion of agricultural value chains 

Expected results:  

Output A: Authorities and councils at the provincial and district level are increasingly implementing measures for inclusive economic development oriented at the needs of the local population.

Output B: The local business environment is better aligned to promoting employment opportunities and economic development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Output C: Small and micro enterprises in the selected agricultural value chains improve their production and sales opportunities.

Results from previous phases:   By strengthening local governance, RED III has helped SNAs to improve their capability in running multi-stakeholder forums. About 450 regional economic initiatives have been carried out and a Matching Fund scheme has incentivized districts’ project development capacities. SNAs have improved rural households’ confidence in their own capabilities and the usefulness of participatory dialogue. RED III also contributed to upgrade agricultural value chains through introducing ecologically sustainable methods, marketing strategies, product diversification and extension services through the private sector. Innovations on agricultural technique have achieved a high level of acceptance among farmers and agricultural enterprises: more than 40,000 households (48% women) have directly been reached by training activities, about 18,000 households were rated as “innovation adopters” and experienced a total annual income growth of approximately USD 5 million. A survey confirmed a citizen satisfaction increase with SNAs’ performance on RED-related measures, from 40% in 2015 to 84% in 2017.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North

Coordination with other projects and actors SNDD, CHAIN and SDP (supported by SDC), Decentralization and Administrative Reform (supported by GIZ), Rural Infrastructure Program (supported by KfW), ASPIRE (supported by IFAD) and social insurance schemes in Siem Reap province (supported by ILO)
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    4’061’200 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    3’801’580
Project phases Phase 2 01.01.2019 - 31.03.2022   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.07.2014 - 31.03.2018   (Completed)