The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) has approved five new projects in solar panel manufacturing, healthcare, tourism, mining, and textiles, with total investment of more than $82 million that are expected to create nearly 2,000 jobs.

This was revealed in a notice issued on August 31 by the CDC, the government’s highest decision-making body for large-scale investments. The four such CDC notices released last month indicate that the council approved a total of 17 investment projects with a total investment of $141.72 million – plus or minus $0.805 million to account for rounding – that are anticipated to create 11,197 jobs.

According to the August 31 notice, Kitatsu Solar (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s $23.4 million solar panel manufacturing plant along National Road 51 in Trapaing Prey Phum village, Tomnup Thom commune, Ponhea Leu district, Kandal province is set to bring in 637 new jobs.

Khemunik Hospital Co Ltd’s $23 million 150-bed hospital along National Road 21 in Prek Samrong III village, Takhmao commune, Takhmao district, Kandal province is planned to deliver 458 jobs.

Samanea Co Ltd’s $18.2 million venture based in Kep village, Kep commune, Kep district, Kep province aspires to develop the nearby small islands of Koh Svay, Koh Mtes and Koh Kok, employing 60 workers.

Late Cheng Mining Development Co Ltd’s $13 million gold-mining project in Sochetr commune, Sandan district, Kampong Thom province northwest of the Phnom Chy hill – which sits on the border with Kratie province to the east – is to generate 300 jobs.

Hen Jiu Garment Accessory Co Ltd’s $5.1 million factory in Kantaok Choeung village, Kantaok commune, Kambol district, Phnom Penh will produce garment accessories and threads and provide work for 463 people.

The Ministry of Commerce’s business registry lists a Hong Kong address for Kitatsu Solar Cambodia’s chairman, and domestic addresses for the directors of all other companies, except for Hen Jiu Garment Accessory, which was not found in the registry as of press time.

Speaking to The Post on September 1, Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng commented that favourable geographical factors, political stability, a large young population and improvements to the legal investment framework have helped draw in local and foreign investors, which has better enabled the Kingdom to meet domestic and international demands for products.

Moreover, he said, Cambodia has obtained favourable conditions for exporting to major markets, especially the US and China.

“These fresh investments prove that Cambodia is a promising investment destination, because in addition to having a large export market and production that is up to quality standards, investors can also benefit a bunch from other forms of preferential trade.

“Cambodia is now emerging as a production base for goods that uses more advanced technologies – and does not rely solely on garments and textiles for exports,” Heng said.

Hong Vanak, an economics researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC), remarked that increased proposals and approvals for investment projects generally have a positive effect on economic development.

Of note, he pointed out, the projects greenlit in recent years have been diverse, covering “almost all” sectors, with fewer deemed labour-intensive and a greater number represented by larger-scale ventures that employ state-of-the-art technologies, such as vehicle assembly plants.

“The arrival of these types of factories and enterprises will help to stabilise the Cambodian economy at its foundation and increase the capacity, knowledge and technology of the Cambodian workforce,” he said.

Vanak added that international trade disputes between major countries, political crises and rising labour costs abroad, and especially Cambodia’s free trade agreements (FTA), which involve a range of nations, will help the Kingdom draw in even more investment going forward.