In 2010, with support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) began the implementation of an $18.4 million global program, the Municipal Partners for Economic Development (MPED). This program is designed to help local governments and local government associations (LGAs) in 6 or 7 different countries around the world provide more effective local economic development (LED) services. The first of these countries to participate in the program was Cambodia.
The County of Newell Economic Development Committee was a successful applicant in being one of the first partners to participate in this program. The other two Canadian municipalities chosen were the Town of Beaumont and the City of Chilliwack
The aim of the Local Economic Development (LED) Strategic Planning Project is to contribute to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction by providing a strategic framework to guide actions of the government at the local level. In the spring of 2011, representatives from the 3 different Canadian municipalities travelled to Cambodia to participate in the selection of local districts that would be best suited to participate in this program. The result of the selection process was that the County of Newell, as one of the three Canadian Municipalities for the project was matched with the Kang Maes District in Kampong Cham province, Cambodia.
In June 2011, again 2 representatives from the County of Newell travelled to this district to begin to assess in detail its socioeconomic growth potential. The purpose of the mission is to define and finalize a master project plan through a process of developing an LED strategy aimed at capacity building by identifying and assessing local assets and strengths available for future development within the area. Priority setting during this mission resulted in the development of a project plan aimed at increasing the economic capacity and potential for the Kong Meas District.
In the fall of 2011 a delegation of 16 Cambodian municipal and provincial representatives travelled to the County of Newell to learn about economic development, particularly in the areas of irrigation and agriculture.
The County of Newell representatives returned to Cambodia in the spring of 2012 to begin the implementation of the project plan with the elected officials with the Kong Meas District. The primary objectives of the project plan are:
- To enable Commune Councils to channel technical information services on advanced agricultural practices to local farmers within their area.
- To assist the District Government in developing services to promote the marketing of agricultural products outside of the area.