HUNDREDS of bankers, economists and historians joined the National Bank of Cambodia on Monday to mark the 30th anniversary of the country’s post-Khmer Rouge currency, the riel. Cambodia produced its first currency in the 16th century to promote trade with other nations, National Bank Governor Chea Chanto told an audience of around 600 people in Chaktomuk Conference Hall. As a French protectorate, Cambodia shared an Indochinese currency with Vietnam and Laos. After gaining independence in 1953, Cambodia established a national bank and printed riel notes, but these were abolished — along with the banking system — under the Khmer Rouge. The reintroduction of the riel after the regime fell was “part of a building up of sovereignty and the state’s economic power”, Chea Chanto said.