The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has taken on the role of strengthening the partnership between South Korea and Cambodia and bringing their people closer together.

For the past several decades, KOICA, on behalf of the South Korean government, has extended its support to the Kingdom through various programmes, with a total value of approximately $366.5 million, said a September 1 press release by the agency.

The release also marked the 20th anniversary of the establishment of KOICA’s overseas office in Phnom Penh in 2003.

It explained that its cooperation with Cambodia began in 1991, via the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and initially focused on the provision of equipment.

KOICA has since expanded its efforts to encompass capacity-building initiatives, public-private partnership programmes, country-specific partnership projects, and volunteer dispatch programmes.

Notably, one of the most iconic projects within Phnom Penh is the Preah Ang Duong Hospital (PADH), at which KOICA played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Cambodia-Korea Friendship Eye Care Centre and the Ear, Nose, and Throat Centre.

“Cambodian people refer to PADH as the ‘Korea Hospital.’ Thanks to modern facilities and medical equipment, PADH offers improved diagnoses and treatment for patients from all provinces, including surgical procedures that were previously unavailable,” the press release explained.

“On behalf of the South Korean government, KOICA has wholeheartedly fulfilled its responsibilities to enhance the partnership between our two nations and draw our people closer together. As the Cambodian proverb wisely notes, ‘A bunch of sticks cannot be broken.’ Cooperation between the two governments, underpinned by a strong and enduring partnership, will persist as they have for the past 20 years,” it added.

KOICA training programmes have seen more than 3,500 Cambodian government officials invited to South Korea to participate in fully-funded scholarship programmes.

The Cambodia-Korea Alumni Association – comprised of KOICA training program graduates – remains active and shares the knowledge acquired during their training, while also carrying out various social activities across the Kingdom.

According to the press release, KOICA has deployed almost 900 volunteers and experts to various provinces, with a focus on sectors as varied as health, education, Korean language instruction, information and communications technology, early childhood education, music, physical education, and even Taekwondo training.