The United Kingdom’s Minister for Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, embarked on her inaugural visit to Cambodia from March 2nd to 4th, aiming to bolster cooperation in trade, economic development, and education. This diplomatic effort underscores the UK’s commitment to fostering sustainable partnerships with Cambodia.

As outlined in a press release from the UK embassy in Phnom Penh on March 3rd, Trevelyan is slated to engage in discussions with Cambodia’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Aun Pornmoniroth, concerning the UK’s backing for Cambodia’s sustainable development initiatives, particularly in green infrastructure. The release highlighted the burgeoning trade and investment ties between the two nations, propelled by various initiatives, including a trade scheme facilitating bilateral trade exceeding £1 billion annually.

Moreover, Cambodia holds a strategic position as a priority country for the UK’s Investment Partnership program, which aims to catalyze private sector investments in sustainable infrastructure projects to foster development. Trevelyan expressed her gratification in undertaking her maiden visit to Cambodia, commending the nation for its rich historical tapestry and commendable economic growth within the ASEAN bloc.

Echoing Trevelyan’s sentiments, Dominic Williams, the UK ambassador to Cambodia, warmly welcomed her visit, marking the first by a British minister since Prime Minister Hun Manet’s assumption of office in August 2023. Williams underscored the UK’s commitment to bolstering job creation and economic growth in Cambodia through sustainable investments, development initiatives, and enhanced trade relations.

Trevelyan’s itinerary in Phnom Penh includes a visit to the new sister campus of the UK’s De Montfort University, situated in Leicester. This move marks the first instance of a UK university establishing a branch in Cambodia, emphasizing the mutual commitment to advancing education. The minister will engage with university personnel and education stakeholders, setting the stage for the university’s inaugural intake in 2024.

Furthermore, promoting educational access, particularly for women and girls, remains a cornerstone of UK-Cambodia relations. In 2023, the UK pledged £30 million to enhance educational opportunities for women and girls across Southeast Asia, supporting scholarships, additional classes, and teacher training initiatives to elevate the quality of education.

Additionally, Trevelyan’s visit underscores the UK’s reverence for Cambodia’s rich heritage, with plans to visit the National Museum to appreciate recently repatriated artifacts. She will also convene with various civil society organizations to gain insights into their efforts in promoting good governance, transparency, and gender empowerment within Cambodia.

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