Bangkok (UN Information Services) – Strong export growth, particularly in garments, has continued to boost Cambodia’s economy, helping it keep its place as one of the Asia-Pacific region’s fastest growing economies, according to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
In its Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2008, ESCAP said economic growth in 2008 is forecast to slow to 7.0 per cent down from 8.5 per cent last year, and 10.8 per cent in 2006. Growth will remain underpinned by garment exports, tourism, construction, and growth in agricultural production and government spending on infrastructure.
Cambodia has “maintained consistently high investment growth with a rate of about 16 per cent in 2006 and 2007”.
But a key concern lay in the country’s narrow export base which was considered “vulnerable because of its dependence on garment exports.” Approximately 40 per cent of garment exports are destined for the United States market.
“A remaining challenge is to further reduce the strong dependence on garment exports and become more competitive in other areas,” ESCAP said. It also recommended the upgrading of technological skills.
ESCAP also called for improvements to productivity in the agricultural sector to reduce poverty. “In Cambodia, 90 per cent of the poor live in rural areas. Although agricultural productivity has increased in Cambodia, it is still not sufficient for poverty reduction in rural areas,” ESCAP said.
Poverty reduction in Cambodia has largely taken place in urban centres that have a garment industry, but remained evident in rural areas.
Debt relief is expected in 2008 from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and rescheduling by the two largest creditors – the Russian Federation and the United States who together account for 58 per cent of Cambodia’s total debt stock.
In 2006, Cambodia received a debt write-off of US$83 million from the IMF under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative based on having gross domestic product per capita of less than $380 in 2004.
Further information on the Survey can be found at:
For more information, please contact:
Hak-Fan Lau, UN Information Services, ESCAP
Tel.: +66-2-288-1866, Mob.: +66-84700-1147
Ari Gaitanis, UN Information Services, ESCAP
Tel.: +66-2-288-1862, Fax: +66-2-288-1052