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Healthy growth for Cambodia’s economy

A NEW report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says GDP growth in Cambodia over the next five years is likely to hit 6.9 per cent, the highest of any ASEAN country apart from Laos.

However, the report warns that Cambodia needs to urgently address problems with productivity and infrastructure, with a largely unskilled labour force and an “inefficient education system” acting as a drag on economic progress.

Rintaro Tamaki, deputy secretary general of the OECD told the Post that there was much still to be done in Cambodia. 

“Many structural reforms still need to be done. We are highlighting three issues, one is agriculture, the second is education and the third is the banking sector, especially the capacity of the central bank.”

He warned that the OECD believes that the country’s reliance on the US dollar could become a problem if there is a fall in the exchange rate. “It is really excessive ... I’ve never seen successful dollarisation in any country except for in emergency situations, and Cambodia isn’t in an emergency situation any more.”

The OECD report suggests some specific measures for continuing economic growth: addressing infrastructure “bottlenecks” such as access to electricity, irrigation, transport and new technology. 

For Tamaki, farming is the key to prosperity. “We suggest the country focus on increasing the export capacity of milled rice. The paddy rice market is quite complex and quite political, so milled rice seems more promising for Cambodia.”

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