Issue: 166
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13 March 2015


  1. Cambodia Has Great Potential for Growth

  2. ADB President: Cambodia Is Strong Economic Growth Country

  3. ADB To Provides US$645 Million for 2015-2017

  4. Peter Dutton: Refugee Deal Critics 'Will Be Embarrassed'

  5. Consultative Workshop on NEC and LEMNA Draft Laws

  6. 14,000 Hectares of Land To Be Distributed To Poor People

  7. 135 Cambodian Peacekeeping Troops Leave for Mali

  8. Cambodia-U.S. Bilateral Trade Increases in January 2015

  9. Cambodia, U.S. Conduct Annual Exercise



Cambodia Has Great Potential for Growth

Cambodia has great potential for growth and opportunities for diversification in many other sectors, said Cambodian PM Samdech Tech Hun Sen, implying that there is still a big room for investment, according to AKP.

Addressing to the 2015 Cambodia Outlook Conference under the theme of “ASEAN Economic Community 2015 and Beyond: Our Reform Agenda”, SamdechTecho Hun Sen said at the present, Cambodia's economic growth depends on traditional sectors such as garment, tourism, construction and agriculture sectors.

“This indicates it is necessary and urgent to diversify into new sectors especially industry, agro-industry and handicraft, which require massive investments, but we have seen some signs of hope, that is the economic diversification into the light industry e.g. electronics and food processing,” he added.

The premier stressed that Cambodia has been classified as “high growth country” by the World Bank by averaging 7.7 percent per annum during the last two decades and is ranked sixth in the world in terms of economic growth. Over recent years, Cambodia has been viewed going through transformation in the politic, economic, trade and social aspects. Cambodia achieved 7.4 percent economic growth in 2013, along with the growth projection of around 7 percent per annum in 2014 and in the medium term, thanks to the development of energy and other physical infrastructure, enhanced competitiveness, improvement to trade facilitation and investment climate and so on. Inflation has been contained within 5 percent and the Riel/US$ exchange rate has been generally stable. The banking system remains robust with adequate capital and liquidity. Deposits and loans continue to grow, a reflection of stronger public confidence in Cambodia's banking system.

Growth is estimated to be around 7 percent in 2015, spearheaded by 9.7 percent growth in the industry sector and followed by 6.6 percent growth in the service sector and 4.3 percent growth in the agriculture sector which is projected to remain so in the medium term. Growth in the industry sector is due to two main aspects that include the slight rebound of the clothing and footwear sector and the continued growth in the energy and construction sectors. Inflation is projected to remain low at 3.5 percent, due to dropping prices of oil and agricultural products, he underlined.



ADB President: Cambodia Is Strong Economic Growth Country

PM Samdech Hun Sen (left) welcomes ADB President prior to their meeting

Even though some challenges remain, Cambodia is one of the strong economic growth counties, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President TakehikoNakao said at the press conference held after his meetings with Cambodia's Prime Minister SamdechTecho Hun Sen, addingthat the country's rapid economic growth—driven by strong gains in industry, services and agriculture—has brought Cambodia to the verge of transitioning from a low-income to a middle-income country, reported AKP on 10 March 2015.

“Cambodia is among the world's fastest-growing economies. It has rapidly reduced poverty from nearly 50 percent of the population in 2007 to just 19 percent in 2012, although many people have moved only slightly above the poverty line and remain vulnerable,” he underlined.

According to the ADB's press release made public after the press conference, Cambodia's gross domestic product expanded at an average annual rate of 6.5 percent between 2007 and 2014. ADB predicts growth of 7.3 percent in 2015, underpinned by well-managed inflation, a stable exchange rate and sustained competitiveness.

Further reforms to improve the business climate would attract foreign capital and expertise, accelerating the economy's diversification. Ensuring stable supplies of electricity and reducing its cost—currently among the region's highest—and improving access to finance for smaller enterprises would enhance the private sector's contribution to growth.

Mr. Nakao welcomed the Industrial Development Policy, which upon approval will provide a comprehensive framework for more broad-based and sustainable economic growth.

Steady progress has also been made on reforming public financial management, Mr. Nakao noted. The government's Public Financial Management Reform Program—supported by ADB—had improved budget credibility and financial accountability, and is strengthening linkages between the budget and government policy and programs. ADB is also ready to support ongoing decentralization of public functions to outlying regions, to enhance service delivery by local governments.

Another key to inclusive growth is to address low educational achievement and a mismatch between the skills of graduates and those needed by industry, said Mr. Nakao. He commended sharp increases in primary and secondary enrolments in recent years. “ADB will work with the government to improve the quality and relevance of education, through targeted skills development at post-basic education level, especially for women and the poor,” said Mr. Nakao.

Mr. Nakao said ADB would continue its work to expand the rural road network and extend access to safe water and proper sanitation in rural areas.

ADB resumed operations in Cambodia in 1992 following two decades of conflict, and has since delivered US$2.11 billion in concessional loans, grants and technical assistance. Under the recently approved Country Partnership Strategy, ADB is supporting Cambodia with more than US$800 million in assistance between 2014 and 2018, focusing on boosting rural incomes and infrastructure, enhancing rural-urban-regional connectivity, and improving the quality of public sector management.



ADB To Provides US$645 Million for 2015-2017

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) plans to provide a total of US$645 million as cooperation financing for 2015-2017, of which US$535 million are ADB's concessional loans and about US$110 million are financing from other development partners through ADB.

According to a press release made public after the meeting between Cambodian Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Porn Moniroth, and ADB President TakehikoNakao on 10 March in Phnom Penh, ADB is also going to offer some US$12,24 million as technical cooperation financing.

During the meeting, H.E. TakehikoNakao, who paid a visit to Cambodia from 9 to 11 March 2015, appreciated Cambodia's political stability, mainly the annual economic growth of around 7 percent, as well as the country's efforts in reducing the poverty rate, from 53.2 percent in 2004 to 18.89 percent in 2012 and in maintaining the annual inflation rate at about 3.5 percent on average.



Peter Dutton: Refugee Deal Critics 'Will Be Embarrassed'

Foreign Minister HorNamhong (right) receives Australia's Minister Dutton

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has heaped praise on the Cambodian government as a “very responsible” partner in refugee resettlement, according to Phnom Penh Post on 12 March 2015.

In an interview with the Post on 11 March 2015 before he departed to Australia after 2-day visit to Phnom Penh, Minister Dutton saidcritics would be left embarrassed when the initial group is successfully resettled in Cambodia with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Cambodian officials will travel to Nauru in coming weeks to meet the approximately 400 refugees eligible for resettlement here in a bid to find three to five families willing to make the move.

Minister Dutton said he had no doubt that sufficient numbers would agree to be part of the trial group and that many others would follow.

“I think the criticisms have been lacking substance, and I think they haven't been based on fact, and I think some of the critics will be embarrassed when they understand the depth of the arrangement and the depth of support that will be provided,” he said.

“I think critics will always find a point to criticize, but my experience has been a very positive one and that's only been reinforced by the meetings today,” he said, referring to back-to-back meetings with Cambodia's Interior Minister SarKheng, Immigration Department chief SokPhal and Foreign Minister HorNamhong.

”I think the Cambodian government understands their responsibilities, I think that they are meeting their responsibilities, and I think they have the capacity to work well with the Nauruans to provide a new life [for the refugees].”

Minister Dutton said that the initial families would receive housing, education, employment arrangements, language-learning support and a host of other support services.

He said the IOM, which agreed to assist with the scheme last month, had been identifying local partners to work with in resettlement.

“They've been able to scope out potential housing arrangements. They've been able to enter into some discussion with employment providers and with people in Cambodia that might be willing to partner to make this a success.”



Consultative Workshop on NEC and LEMNA Draft Laws

A consultative workshop was held at the National Assembly on 9 March 2015 for discussions on the proposed draft Law on Organization and Functioning of the National Election Committee (NEC) and the proposed draft Law on Election of Members of the National Assembly (LEMNA).

The workshop, jointly organized by the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and the Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was attended by some 400 participants, including members of the Senate and National Assembly, members of the Royal Government of Cambodia, representatives of civil society organizations and representatives of the foreign Embassies.

The participants have asked questions and given feedback and opinions to be examined for necessary inclusion in the two proposed drafts to be submitted to the National Assembly for adoption.



14,000 Hectares of Land To Be Distributed To Poor People

The Royal Government of Cambodia has decided to deduct some 14,000 hectares from economic land concessions in two provinces and to distribute to poor people and armed personnel with an aim to enhance their family economy.

Cambodian Minister of Environment Say Samal made the announcement on 9 March 2015 at a press conference in Phnom Penh.

The Minister said that of the total 14,000 hectares, some 5,000 hectares are in PreahVihear province, and the rest in BotumSakor district, Koh Kong province.



135 Cambodian Peacekeeping Troops Leave for Mali

135 troops of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) have left Cambodia for Mali to fulfill the peacekeeping mission of the United Nations, reported AKP on 5 March.

A total of 309 troops of the Cambodian blue-beret forces were scheduled to leave for Mali for UN peacekeeping mission.

The first team consists of 135 troops, of them 90 are for mine and UXO clearance and 45 are the airport engineering team. The second team of 175 troops will leave in mid-April 2015 to replace the Cambodian troops who will finish their peacekeeping mission.”



Cambodia-U.S. Bilateral Trade Increases in January 2015

The bilateral trade exchange between Cambodia and the U.S. in January this year rose in both exports and imports, reported AKP on 9 March basing on the U.S. Census Bureau's statistics.

In January 2015, Cambodia exported goods to the U.S. market with a total value of US$230.8 million, up from US$229.9 million during the same period last year.At the same time, Cambodia's imports from the U.S. were amounted to about US$25.8 million, up from US$24.4 million in January 2014.

The U.S. is one of the main important trade partners of Cambodia. Last year, the total Cambodia's exports to the U.S. were valued at US$2,843.8 million and the country's imports from the U.S., at some US$328.1 million.



Cambodia, U.S. Conduct Annual Exercise

The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) have been conducting the annual humanitarian and peacekeeping operation drill called Exercise Angkor Sentinel 15 from 5 to 20 March 2015.

Angkor Sentinel is an annual bilateral exercise sponsored by USARPAC and hosted by the RCAF that focuses on providing humanitarian assistance and responding to disasters. This year marks the sixth iteration of this significant and highly-productive regional training exercise, according to a press release of the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh.




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