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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - GDP grew 6.5pc in 2008, says lawmaker

GDP grew 6.5pc in 2008, says lawmaker

Amid a sluggish national economy and shaky international markets, Cambodia posted a 6.5 percent rise in gross domestic product this year, Cambodian People's Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap said Sunday.

That would bring per capita GDP to US$700, compared with $630 in 2007, he said.

Cheam Yeap credited the country's relative insulation from the global economic crisis for the increase.

The CIA World Factbook put Cambodia's 2007 GDP at $8.604 billion, but no figures were available for 2008. GDP growth for 2009 is expected to fall to 5.9 percent, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann took issue with the numbers, saying other analysts and NGOs put per capita GDP closer to $500.

"The figures are simply a political strategy to make our economy seem better than it actually is," he said.

Foreign direct investment also spiked this year, said Kang Chandararot, president of the Cambodia Institute for Development Study, reaching $7.9 billion - up from $1.5 billion in 2007. Total investment was over $14 billion in 2008, a more than fivefold rise over last year's $2.78 billion, he said.

"Capital investment is up because investors trust our economy and the political stability that created it," he said.

But Yim Sovann said the CDC estimates failed to consider foreign investors that have pulled out or suspended projects. The CDC could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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