Prime Minister Hun Sen predicted that despite some challenges, Cambodia’s economy would grow by 5.6 per cent this year.

While meeting with nearly 20,000 garment workers from 12 factories in Tram Kak district, Takeo province on June 11, Hun Sen said that Cambodia’s economy grew exponentially in the two decades that preceded the Covid-19 pandemic.

He stated that Cambodia set its sights on reaching upper-middle income status by 2030 after becoming a lower middle-income economy in 2015.

“The Cambodian economy grew by 5.2 per cent in 2022, and is forecast to expand by 5.6 per cent this year. The service sector is firmly on a path to recovery, predominantly due to increased demand from consumers,” he added.

Hun Sen recalled that in 1997, Cambodia’s garment exports totalled around $200 million. Last year, the garment sector accounted for $13 billion out of the Kingdom’s total exports worth $22 billion. The trade volume topped $52 billion.

He hailed these figures as evidence of strong economic growth, rather than mere campaign promises.

Cambodia’s economy is firmly on a path to recovery, led by manufacturing exports and growth in services and agriculture, said World Bank, in a May 18 report.

The Kingdom’s economic recovery solidified in 2022, when real growth accelerated to 5.2 per cent, according to the World Bank’s Cambodia Economic Update: Post -COVID-19 Economic Recovery.

“A strong rebound in services, especially trade, travel, and hospitality has helped bring Cambodia back to pre-Covid-19 growth levels, with foreign arrivals accelerating as the country hosts the Southeast Asian Games and ASEAN Para Games. This revival is also boosted by easing domestic prices as global oil and food prices stabilise,” it said.

It added that with the agriculture sector expanding due to improved access to regional markets following newly ratified trade agreements, economic growth is forecast to accelerate to 5.5 per cent in 2023.

World Bank country manager for Cambodia Maryam Salim said that to safeguard its economic recovery, Cambodia needs to diversify its tourism products and destinations and improve its trade competitiveness by boosting connectivity, reducing trade barriers, and streamlining customs procedures.