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Cambodia to sustain strong growth: World Bank

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A motorist passes the Minebea factory at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone. Hong Menea

Cambodia to sustain strong growth: World Bank

Cambodia’s economy is predicted to remain strong and resilient for the next two years, fueled by a shift to higher value-added manufacturing despite lingering concerns over political stability and the slowed growth of both the construction and garment sectors, the World Bank said yesterday in its latest review of the Cambodian economy.

The Kingdom’s robust GDP growth is expected to reach 6.9 percent in 2018 and remain almost as high at 6.7 percent in 2019, thanks to increased export diversification of footwear, electrical machinery and auto parts alongside healthy inflows of foreign direct investment, the World Bank said in its Cambodia Economic Update for October 2017.

However, downside risks—including the possibility of a slowdown in the regional economy, especially from China and “potential election-related uncertainties”—still remain.

World Bank Country Manager for Cambodia Inguna Dobraja said that while the Kingdom “appears to be on the verge of climbing up the manufacturing value chains,” this change would bring new challenges to the economy.

“To succeed in boosting export diversification, Cambodia would need to undertake deeper structural reforms that address high electricity and logistics costs, as well as skills gaps,” she said.

The report noted that in 2012, the Kingdom had 46 factories dedicated to electrical machinery and auto parts, accounting for a 5.1 percent share of the manufacturing industry. As of August of this year, the number of factories had increased to 121 and accounted for 7.1 percent of manufacturing.

“Cambodia will not be able to rely on the same factors that drove strong growth and production over the last two decades,” Dobraja said.

Updates to follow.

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