The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) approved final registration certificates for 25 projects in the first month of 2022, with total registered capital of nearly $2.3 billion and expected to create 23,175 jobs.
This was a more than 50-fold increase in value from the 11 projects greenlit in January 2021 – that were to provide 7,854 jobs – worth in the range of $43.25-44.35 million, according to The Post’s calculations based on CDC notices, accounting for rounding.
The CDC gave the nod to a diverse slate of projects last month, in fields such as garments, bags and suitcases; agriculture and plywood; animal feed and raw materials; tyres; packaging goods; hotels and recreational facilities; ports and logistics; electricity; and hospitals.
January 2022’s investment projects had total registered capital in the order of $2.28427-2.28749 billion, the bulk of which came from Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd’s $1.300 billion multi-purpose port with a logistics centre in Kampot province’s Bokor town that is set to generate 590 jobs, according to a CDC notice on January 17.
The runners-up were Cambodian Upper Tatay Hydropower Co Ltd’s $389 million 150MW hydropower plant on the Tatai river across Thma Bang and Koh Kong districts in Koh Kong province; and General Intelligence (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s $297 million tyre factory in Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone of Preah Sihanouk province.
The two projects will deliver 1,580 and 1,600 jobs, respectively, according to plans.
The fourth and fifth largest were KBX Investment Co Ltd’s $129 million five-star hotel with 528 rooms on Monivong Boulevard in the capital’s Boeung Keng Kang III commune; and Longfruiter Anlong Veng Oddor Meanchey Agriculture Park Co Ltd’s plantations of bananas and other fruits worth a total of $51 million in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Anlong Veng district in Oddar Meanchey province.
Plans indicate that these two ventures will bring in 737 and 1,867 new jobs.
Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on February 1 that the Kingdom had started the year with a breakthrough and a tremendous source of pride.
He remarked that the sheer amount of projects that the CDC endorsed last month, with a staggering level of registered capital investment, comes amid a prolonged period of relative stability in the local Covid-19 situation, buttressed by the government’s effective and productive management.
Investment growth in Cambodia was chiefly driven by a combination of political and geographical factors, macroeconomic strength, a diverse skilled labour force, and improved transport infrastructure, as well as the constant revision and fine tuning of laws, regulations and procedures to facilitate the investment journey, he said.
“This is a remarkable feat achieved by Cambodia during such trying times, and in all likelihood, not many other developing countries have been able to obtain such a proportionately large amount of projects and capital investment during this period.
“This vast amount of investment will be a strong driving force for Cambodia’s economic growth during and after the Covid-19 crisis,” Vanak said.
The projects approved by the CDC now are far more diverse and require a more powerful suite of newer technologies, compared to those endorsed over a decade ago, he highlighted.
Yesteryear’s ventures mostly comprised of garment factories aiming to capitalise on demand in markets that provide preferential tariffs and other trade perks to the Kingdom, he said, citing the US and its Generalised System of Preferences as an example.
“Such a diversity of investment projects will not only help strengthen the Cambodian economic foundation but also diversify exports,” he added.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said the new Law on Investment as well as the current and future bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTA) will lure in a fair share of investors to the Kingdom time and again.
And investment growth will pick up when the world moves past the Covid-19 health crisis, Heng said. “The export market with FTAs, and new investment laws will allure more and more investors to Cambodia.”
He also underlined that a steady flow of plans for ports, special economic zones and transport routes would act as a major catalyst for investment.