The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) on May 31 announced that it had greenlit final registration certificates to four textile-related projects worth a total of about $17 million that are set to create 4,990 jobs.

The continuing uptrend in government approvals of new domestically- and foreign-invested projects signals burgeoning investor confidence in Cambodia, as economic activity gathers pace after the Kingdom and other countries began to reopen after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest batch of projects approved by the CDC, the government’s highest decision-making body for large-scale investments, brings the January-May total to 72, with total capital investment of roughly $2.66238 billion – plus or minus $3.96 million to account for rounding – which are expected to deliver 60,949 jobs, according to The Post’s calculations based on posts on the CDC’s Facebook page.

The garment, footwear and travel goods sectors accounted for the bulk of these projects, although others were in fields such as fruit processing and packaging, hotels, hospitals, and business centres, as well as the manufacture or assembly of vehicles, car tyres, wiring, components for electronic equipment and electronics, solar panels, floor tiles, furniture, wiring and plastics.

Although international travel has yet to fully recover from the pandemic, Cambodia’s favourable new Law on Investment and supporting legal and regulatory instruments has kept the number of large-scale project proposals on a steady incline, Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng told The Post.

He listed other contributing factors as the Kingdom’s strategic geographical location in the region; bilateral free trade agreements with China and South Korea; membership in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP); a cheap, abundant and skilled labour force; and high Covid-19 vaccination rates among the populace.

He also noted that Cambodia has been attracting a diverse raft of new non-light industry projects such as car assembly plants.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, suggested that the success of the Kingdom’s Covid-19 vaccination strategy and timely reopening were emboldening more businesspeople to set up larger manufacturing enterprises, projects which he said would go a long way to keep the economy stable.

“With political stability and access to more international markets, I think more and more giant companies and factories will come and invest in Cambodia,” he said.

In the first four months of 2022, Cambodia’s total international exports totalled $7.60620 billion, up by 32.1 per cent year-on-year, while imports amounted to $10.04330 million, up by 5.5 per cent, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia.

This means that the Kingdom’s trade deficit for January-April narrowed by more than 35 per cent to $2.4371 billion, from nearly $3.8 billion a year ago.