The government has approved 52 investment projects in the first four months of this year collectively valued at nearly $2.5 billion, that are expected to generate over 47,000 jobs, largely in the garments and textiles sector.

Analysis by The Post of recent data from the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) reveals that projects approved in the January-April period include manufacturing facilities for a variety of sectors, including garments, travel products, fruit processing and packaging, car parts and wiring.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) director-general Nguon Meng Tech said that a number of factors have made garment manufacturing the sector with the most investment projects.

They include the new Law on Investment and the Cambodia Garment, Footwear and Travel Goods (GTF) Sector Development Strategy 2022-2027, which the government recently began implementing. Meng Tech also highlighted the relaxation of several measures, which has made it easier for investors to pour capital into the sector.

However, he said the CDC and CCC wished to see more investment in the automotive and electronics sectors, adding that a “roadmap” for automotive and electronics development “needs to be launched soon”.

“Regarding the automotive and electronics sectors, in the past the CCC has always been associated with many foreign investors – especially from Japan, a very developed country in both areas and which also has significant capital. We want the largest economies in Asia to invest in our country, which will not only boost our economic growth, but also share with us more knowledge and experience,” he said.

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika said that the growth of the number of garment factories would be a further boost to the sector’s exports.

“Naturally, the more factories, the more exports. If there are no major … events that disrupt the global economy, Cambodia can still maintain its export growth or boost competitive edge in this area,” he said.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath said that the increase in investment in the textiles and garment sector shows that Cambodia has capitalised on opportunities accorded by the pandemic to establish itself as a key player globally, and this has been noticed by investors.

“In a context [the Covid-19 pandemic] where other countries cannot produce, Cambodia has demonstrated that it can produce, due to factors such as the government’s vaccination strategy,” he said.

According to a report by the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia, garment exports totalled $3.155 billion, an increase of 24.8 per cent. Exports of non-garment products reached $1.2129 million, up 38.2 per cent.