via CAAI News Media
PHNOM PENH, March 5 (AFP) – Cambodia's rail network should be restored by 2013 with the help of millions of dollars in international aid, the country's finance minister said.
Trains have only run sporadically in Cambodia since the country's civil war ended in the 1990s, but finance minister Keat Chhon said workers will complete an overhaul of the rail system in the next few years.
''The project implementation started in 2007 and expects to be complete in 2013,'' Keat Chhon said during a ceremony in which the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Australian government gave more funds to complete the rail network.
Officials hope patching up Cambodia's railways will boost the country's economic growth and facilitate trade with other countries in Southeast Asia.
The total cost to reconstruct the 600 kilometers (373 miles) of rails, connecting them to highways and ports, is expected to be 141.6 million dollars, Keat Chhon said.
The minister made his remarks after receiving an additional loan of $42 million from the ADB and a grant of $21.5 million from Australia for the project.
The ADB has provided $84 million in total loans to restore Cambodia's railway, he said.
Another $13 million come from the OPEC Fund for international development, while Malaysia had contributed 106 kilometers of track worth $2.8 million, Keat Chhon added.
It has long been a regional dream to connect Asia by rail, and many of the gaps in the railway are in Southeast Asia, with only Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand operating cross-border links.