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Saturday, 21 September 2019
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Badly traumatised by decades of conflict, Cambodia’s economy was long a gecko amid the neighbouring dragons. This finally looks set to change, as the economy has been liberalised and investors are circling to take advantage of the new opportunities. Asian investors are flocking to Phnom Penh, led by the South Koreans who are inking deals for skyscrapers all over the low- rise city. Westerners are starting to realise that they are on to something and investment funds and venture capitalists are sniffing around. It’s a far cry from the days of civil war, genocide and famine. However, it’s a fairly exclusive boom limited to foreign investors, wealthy Cambodians and a small number of city dwellers. To ensure a stable future, the government needs to expand the opportunities to the people of the countryside, f Before the civil war, rubber was the leading industry and it’s bouncing back with new plantations. Other plantation industries taking off include t palm oil and paper pulp. Virgin forest is being cut down on the pretext of replanting, but the ecosystem never recovers.
The garment sector is important to the economy, with factories ringing the Cambodian capital. Cambodia is trying to carve a niche for itself as an ethical producer, with good labour relations and air-conditioned f factories. It’s no picnic in the factories, but the alternative is often the rice fields or the shadowy fringes of the entertainment industry, which is often a one-way ticket into prostitution. When it comes to the garment industry’s future, it remains to be seen if profit or purpose will triumph in the international marketplace.
Tourism is a big deal in Cambodia with more than two million visitors v arriving in 2007, a doubling of numbers in just three years. Thousands of jobs are being created every year and this is proving a great way to integrate the huge number of young people into the economy. Wages are low v by regional standards, but tips can add up to a princely sum that might support an extended family.
Foreign aid was long the mainstay of the Cambodian economy, supporting half the government’s budget, and NGOs have done a lot to force important sociopolitical issues onto the agenda. However, with multibillion dollar investments stacking up, it looks like their days in the sun could be numbered and the government may no longer be influenced by their lobbying.
For many Cambodians, economy is too grand a word, for their life is about subsistence survival. Subject to the vagaries of burning sun and drowning rains, the best they can hope for is a stable crop and the chance to sell a little at the end of the season.
Corruption remains a way of life in Cambodia. It is a major element of the Cambodian economy and exists to some extent at all levels ol government, Sometimes it is overt, but increasingly it is covert, with private companies often securing very favourable business deals on the basis of their connections. It seems everything can be bought, including ancient temples, national parks and even genocide sites.
If you want to discover more about Vietnam beautiful country, come to visit Vietnam through a Rv La Marguerite Mekong river cruise.
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Update : 20-07-2017


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