Sun Chanthol, deputy prime minister and first vice-president of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), highlights the crucial role of all stakeholders in fostering an investment-friendly climate to allure both domestic and international investors. The statement comes on the back of the CDC’s approval of over 190 investment projects in the initial nine months of 2023.

Chanthol made the remarks during a recent press briefing, following his tour of three special economic zones (SEZs) in Svay Rieng province.

He emphasised that all state agencies are tasked with creating an environment conducive to foreign direct investment (FDI). He outlined their responsibilities to promote and attract investment, ensure investor comfort, provide sustainable support and strive for expansion and strengthening of the existing economic foundation.

“These roles are for everyone, not solely for the CDC which is chaired by Prime Minister Hun Menet. We all share the responsibility to attract, facilitate, maintain and expand opportunities to create jobs for our citizens and reduce poverty,” he said.

He noted that the key authorities involved in investment include the commerce and labour ministries, the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) as well as local authorities.

From January to September, 191 new investment projects received approval, according to a recent CDC report. Among them, 175 were in the industrial sector, totalling $1.8 billion in capital investment. This marks an increase of 43 projects from the 132 approved during the same period in 2022.

According to the council, CDC-approved projects span a diverse range of sectors. These include power distribution networks, steel mills, car tyre manufacturing, cement production, agricultural processing, and garment and footwear production.

They also cover travel bag manufacturing, solar panel assembly, electrical and electronic component production, tourism resort developments, cattle breeding, agro-industrial plantations, cardboard manufacturing, sports equipment, packaging materials and furniture.

Keo Mom, CEO of Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd, one of the Kingdom’s leading food processing companies, said on November 6 that Cambodia’s status as a peaceful nation with robust economic growth and a lack of major natural disasters makes it an attractive destination for investments across various sectors. She believes this stability to be a cornerstone for bolstering investor confidence and drawing more capital to the country.

“Where there is peace, the government’s encouragement and attention are substantial, and investors are likely to respond with great enthusiasm,” she said.

She added that the government is introducing several new strategies to boost the country’s appeal, which include training programmes aimed at developing human resources to meet the evolving demands of the labour market, both within the country and globally.

“Increased investment will lead to higher earnings for the populace and, in turn, will hasten national economic growth,” she said.

For reference, by the end of 2021, FDI in the Kingdom had reached $41 billion, marking an 11.2% increase from the previous year, according to the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC).

Broken down by sector, finance led with $9.4 billion, constituting 22.9% of the total. This was followed by manufacturing at $8.5 billion (20.8%), real estate at $4.9 billion (12%), hotels and restaurants at $4.4 billion (10.7%), agriculture at $4.2 billion (10.3%), electricity at $2.6 billion (6.2) and construction at $1.6 billion (4.1%). Other sectors combined to a sum of $5.3 billion (13%), as per the central bank.