Low electrification rates and over-dependence on fossil fuel imports have contributed to Cambodia’s abysmally low ranking in the new World Economic Forum’s Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report for 2014.
Cambodia ranked 120 out of 124 nations, with a so-called Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI) score of 0.36. EAPI is calculated by averaging the country’s scores in economic growth and development, environmental sustainability, access to energy and energy security. Discounting Myanmar and Laos, which weren’t included in the index due to lack of data, Cambodia came in dead last among the remaining members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
“The [Asean] region’s lowest-performing country across energy access-related indicators is Cambodia. It achieves the lowest access to electricity relative to population (at 31 per cent), and nearly 90 per cent using solid cooking fuels,” the report said.
Cambodia placed ahead of only Tanzania, Benin, Lebanon and Yemen. Norway was in the top slot of all the 124 countries with an EAPI of 0.75. The highest possible obtainable score is 1.
Srey Chanty, president of the Cambodian Economic Association, cited a lack of diversification in the energy sector as the reason for the low rank.
“If Cambodia wants to become more competitive, especially in the manufacturing industry, we must have our own source of energy, increase government investment into energy-saving technologies and reduce reliance on our [Asean] neighbours, who, themselves, are developing countries,” he said. “This is not an issue we can pass on to the next generation.”
Cambodia imports oil from Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and in the first 10 months of this year spent $1.2 billion on oil imports, data from the Ministry of Commerce show.
In May, the government released a draft policy on energy efficiency developed with the European Union’s Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility that calls for a 20 per cent reduction in consumption by 2035, resulting in estimated savings of $320 million.