10 Aug 2011

World Bank stops loans to Cambodia

7:57 am on 10 August 2011

The World Bank has stopped loans to Cambodia amid a dispute over the forced evictions of thousands of people.

The agency, which provides up to $US70 million in loans for Cambodia each year, said it would not resume lending until the government settles the row.

Ministers have allowed a property developer to fill in a huge lake in the middle of Phnom Penh to build luxury flats and upmarket shops.

The BBC reports the development has destroyed villages and forced thousands from their homes.

Many more still face eviction, as the building project gathers pace.

The World Bank presided over a programme in Cambodia which was intended to give people legal entitlement to the land they were living on.

But the agency admitted earlier this year it had failed to secure land rights for the people living on Phnom Penh's Boeng Kak lake.

The bank's last loan to Cambodia was in December 2010.

However, the BBC reports Cambodia is one of the latest recipients of a huge influx of investment from Chinese companies, making it less reliant on loans from international agencies.