The government has carried out a host of sweeping economic reforms amid Covid-19 to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the long run, and remains fully determined to turn the crisis into a major catalyst for growth during and after the pandemic to build a stronger socio-economic system that is resilient to future crises.
Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn made the remark on August 24, the first day of the CLMVT Plus Forum 2021, to an audience of leaders and businessmen of the five inland ASEAN countries.
Organised by the Thai Ministry of Commerce and held from August 24-26 under the theme “Accelerating a Resilient Recovery”, the event is meant to provide a dialogue platform to identify and explore avenues for economic rehabilitation of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand (CLMVT).
Sorphorn underscored that Cambodia has drawn up a series of focused reforms and measures, including the introduction of a new investment law and government credit guarantee; adoption of the e-commerce law and associated strategies; drafting of a law on public-private partnerships; development of an integrated online business registration platform; and a number of initiatives concerning the digital economy.
At the same time, he said, the government in 2018 embarked on an economic diplomacy effort, followed by the adoption of the Economic Diplomacy Strategy (EDS) early this year.
These incorporate tactics designed to inspire a shift from traditional diplomacy to a newer and more resilient model that transforms challenges into opportunities for Cambodia and more effectively promotes international trade, foreign direct investment, tourism, cultural and sports exchanges.
“These aim to promote its [Cambodia’s] competitiveness and facilitate a conducive environment for business and investment in the country,” he said, adding that the government is getting ready to launch the Economic Recovery Plan 2021-2023 to lift the economy out of the Covid-19.
“I believe that this forum will provide opportunities for all participants to exchange views, share thoughts and make recommendations to guide the economic rehabilitation of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand on a resilient path.
“The region we are in represents the Mekong family. We are located at the heart of the ASEAN mainland, which is endowed with large and productive labour forces, and significant production bases for the global economy.
“We have so far been successful in ensuring that people enjoy relative peace, stability, security and steady development. Unfortunately, the severe effects of the Covid-19 pandemic since early last year has largely pushed regional and global economies into recession and caused immense hardship to people’s lives,” Sorphorn said.
Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth last week noted that the Covid-19 crisis had ravaged economies around the world, Cambodia included, since its inception last year.
However, he said, Cambodia has been preparing the 2021-2023 recovery plan which pivots on three priority strategies to return the economy to a high growth path – “economic recovery”, “reforms” and “building resilience”.
“Although the global socio-economic situation remains highly uncertain due to the prolongation of Covid-19, Cambodia may also have some opportunities,” he said with a dose of optimism.
The February 20 community outbreak of Covid-19 that began earlier this year, coupled with the arrival of the novel coronavirus’ Delta variant and a recent surge in imported cases, prompted Cambodia to revise its economic growth forecast for 2021 to 2.4 per cent, down from 4.0 per cent at the beginning of the year.
But the finance minister pegged Cambodia’s economic growth at 4.8 per cent for 2022, saying that the coronavirus outbreak has eased after widespread vaccination, ushering in the beginnings of a “new normal”.