Remarks by Mr. Michael Newbill, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, Coca Cola Cambodia’s EKO-Center Inauguration

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Remarks by Mr. Michael Newbill, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, Coca Cola Cambodia’s EKO-Center Inauguration
Remarks by Mr. Michael Newbill, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, Coca Cola Cambodia’s EKO-Center Inauguration
USAID/Ty Chan

(as prepared for delivery)

 

  • Your Excellency Hun Many, Member of National Assembly
  • Your Excellency Hem Darith, the governor of Posenchey district
  • Mr. David Wigglesworth, CEO of the Cambodia Beverage Company
  • Mr. Dana Bolden, Public Affairs & Communications Director of the Bottling Investment Group
  • Mr. Eric Welsh, Global Operations Director of the EKO-Center
  • Colleagues from the Royal Government of Cambodia and the private sector,
  • Coca-Cola employees, distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen.

I am happy to be at the inauguration of Coca Cola Cambodia’s very first EKO-Center. Just five kilometers from here, stands Coca Cola Cambodia’s newly built bottling plant in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone. This bottling plant shows the success of the Government’s hard work over many years to attract foreign investment.  That success has come through an open investment framework, modern special economic zones, improved tax administration, and other business-friendly reforms. I believe other foreign investors – and hopefully many from America – will view Coca Cola’s presence as a symbol of Cambodia’s potential and a sign that Cambodia is ready for business. We are right there with you - the U.S. government has always worked to increase Cambodia’s economic growth. Improving the lives of all Cambodians is a priority for us and is  critical to that improvement is the country’s economic growth and development.  All reasons we are here today.

This EKO-Center says a lot about Coca Cola’s values.  Coca Cola is well known for its very progressive corporate social responsibility practices, especially its global commitment to empowering women. In addition, Coca-Cola Company’s global initiative to bring clean water, solar power, and community centers to cities and villages throughout the world has always impressed me. It is one of the many reasons why it is one of the most recognizable brands on the planet.

In that context, I am proud to say that USAID and Coca Cola Cambodia have agreed to jointly enter into a public/private partnership to magnify the work of directly assisting Cambodians with business training, employment opportunities, and access to clean water.   USAID’s support will help ensure that these things will benefit people who are vulnerable to human trafficking - particularly women. This partnership will also provide pushcarts to 20 women in rural provinces, enabling them to sell Coca Cola products, and generating incomes for them. If this goes well, Coca Cola and USAID will study how to expand the number of pushcarts.

Identifying reliable sources of livelihood like this is a key tool for preventing human trafficking. USAID supports Winrock International, who will help with this effort. Coca Cola will also provide entrepreneurial and business acumen training to women so that they can manage their own businesses.

In America, we encourage our companies to have a symbiotic relationship with the local communities in which they work. We encourage companies to undertake environmental assessments, employ as many local community members as possible, and promote social development. As you all can see, this is exactly what Coca Cola is doing here today, with USAID’s help.

Thank you all for coming and I look forward to touring the EKO-Center with all of you!

Phnom Penh
Issuing Country 

Last updated: October 30, 2017

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