Cambodia's economic growth is expected to rise half of one percent next year from
5 percent in 2003, according to the Asian Development Outlook 2003 Update published
by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). That makes it among the fastest growing countries
in the region.
"This is a high rate of growth," said Urooj Malik, country representative
of the ADB. "If we consider the floods, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS),
the [decline in] tourism and the political crises in 1997 and 1998, then this growth
is very positive."
The September 30 report, updating one released in April, noted that Southeast Asia
sustained successive economic blows due to the outbreak of SARS and a generally uncertain
global economy. However, the region's growth prospects were expected to improve overall
from 3.9 percent this year to 4.9 percent in 2004, the report projected.
It cautioned that "financial restructuring and reform still have some way to
go in several countries".
Malik said Cambodia needs to become more "broad-based" economically, and
look at development in areas like agriculture, manufacturing and production. He said
the country could assemble automobiles.
The new forecasts of Cambodia's GDP growth rate made it the fourth highest in the
region for 2004.