The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) approved 16 capital investment projects last month totalling more than $700 million that are expected to create 11,414 local jobs.
The projects are mainly factories in the manufacturing industries of garments, textiles, bags, tyres, furniture, spare parts, grills, stationery and electrical appliances, but also include an international polyclinic, according to the CDC.
The investment capital behind the projects sums up to $702.5 million, but could range between $701.7 and $703.3 million as the CDC rounds each of its figures to two digits – creating a discrepancy in the final number.
Anthony Galliano, the group CEO of financial services firm Cambodian Investment Management, told The Post that the Kingdom has attained a record of unparalleled Covid-19 containment and achieved superior economic management and political stability despite the pandemic.
He said these are accomplishments that international investors who are seeking foreign direct investment destinations will notice and where Cambodia will score very high, given “trouble spots” in the region.
“Cambodia is now a pillar of political steadiness and robust economic growth and development, with consistent improvement in infrastructure, consistent upgrading of its workforce – which remains comparably inexpensive – and reducing electric costs.
“Given neighbouring countries that are undergoing turbulent times, Cambodia is shining as the momentum for the country is directionally positive for most checks for foreign investment.
“The industries entering are exactly what the Kingdom needs, manufacturing, medical, automotive and furnishings. This is recognition that Cambodia can now compete regionally for investment dollars in these sectors,” Galliano said.
Cambodia Securities Exchange vice-chairman Ha Jong-weon told The Post that in every economic circumstance, investors and entrepreneurs are always looking for opportunities.
He said Amazon.com Inc’s Jeff Bezos became the world’s richest man during the Covid-19 pandemic as more people shifted towards online purchases.
Bezos was dethroned by South African-born entrepreneur Elon Musk as his net worth crossed $185 billion, numerous sources reported early in January.
Ha noted that as more people believe that the arrival of viable vaccines signals a quick end to the pandemic, new investment opportunities are coming in as well.
He claimed that hospitality, sanitation, technology and middle- to high-end products were some of the sectors and markets set for an upcoming boom as a result of Covid-19.
“$700 million valued projects approved by CDC is a good sign of economic recovery and [optimism] toward Covid-19. Since Cambodia is an emerging country, there will be more and more investment coming to the country. Meanwhile, the new Investment Law is [expected] to be effective soon.
“The law will attract more foreign investment and production in the country, since the companies do not need to pay taxes on production-input imports.
“The investment climate will be improved to fit with the current needs of the investors and industry 4.0 development. The law will also cut unnecessary spending and process and add incentives for local and foreign investors,” he added.
In 2019, the CDC approved $9.40 billion worth of investment projects, of which mainland Chinese investors accounted for $2.75 billion. Hong Kong ranked second at $912.55 million, while Japan took third with $298.84 million.