In the first six months of 2013, the total amount of government-approved investment in Cambodia jumped more than 200 per cent year-on-year, according to the most recent statistics from the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
Released on Friday, the numbers show that $2.3 billion was earmarked for projects, compared with $692 million in the first half of 2012.
Of the 68 projects that received funds, 36 were in the garment and textile industry, which attracted $200 million. The construction sector accounted for the majority of investment, bringing in nearly $2 billion.
Hiroshi Suzuki, chief economist at the Business Research Institute for Cambodia, said the jump is a product of mega-investments taking place inside the six-month period.
Stabilising economies in the US and EU also boosted exports in the garment industry and garnered more funds to ramp up local production.
“Cambodia has very good potential to attract labour-intensive industries, not only the garment and shoes, but also parts manufacturing,” he said.
“The increasing numbers of so-called ‘middle class’ in Cambodia is attracting the service sector such as retail and cosmetics.”
Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, a private-sector arm, said that investment flowed in the first half of the year despite a normally sluggish period in the lead-up to July’s national election
“Of course, I noticed that we got very huge potential to attract more investments before the election, especially on the garment, construction and the agricultural sector,” he said.
But the current political stalemate following the poll could mean that the green-lighted projects won’t come to fruition, he added.
“With this approval, we are not sure whether it will materialise as the situation is still not good.”
Cambodia’s GDP per capita is projected to hit $1,036 this year, up from nearly $1,000 a year earlier, according to the government’s projection. The economy is expected to grow by 7.6 per cent.