THE Legatum Institute, an independent think tank and research body, has ranked Cambodia 90th out of 104 countries in its annual Prosperity Index, released Wednesday.
The ranking focuses on the drivers that promote economic competitiveness and affect life satisfaction, meaning the report assesses the elements necessary for long-term prosperity rather than per-capita incomes or self-reported happiness.
In half of the categories, Cambodia scored "exceptionally weak", with particularly low scores on foreign aid dependence, entrepreneurship and good governance.
"Prosperity is about more than money" the report claims, but for poor countries like Cambodia, putting in place the factors that lead to increased incomes are the key to rising in the rankings.
"The pernicious impacts of poverty tend to outweigh the positive impacts of the other factors," the report says, adding that two of the strongest drivers of long-term economic growth are not yet in place in Cambodia. The cost of starting a business is high and fixed capital investment is low due to government corruption, poor infrastructure and low educational standards.
Australia, Austria and Finland topped the chart, with Mali, Zambia and Yemen coming in last. Cambodia was not included in the Legatum Institute's 2007 index.