Extolling forecasts that Cambodia’s economy will maintain its 7 percent growth rate this year, Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday reiterated a past prediction that the country would reach upper-middle income status by 2030 and become a high-income country in 2050 – though one expert said he doubted the Kingdom could meet the “very optimistic” predictions.
Addressing officials in Kandal province, the premier noted the country’s growth and low inflation rate in his argument for meeting the targets, according to a post on his Facebook page summarising his speech.
The World Bank officially raised Cambodia’s status from low-income to lower-middle income in July, after its 2015 gross national income (GNI) per-capita surpassed the $1,026 threshold, reaching $1,070.
To reach the next tier, the figure must exceed $4,036, while high-income countries are defined as those with a GNI per-capita sitting at a relatively lofty $12,745.
Reached yesterday, Miguel Chanco, lead ASEAN analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, said regional competition for investment and, in particular, a skills gap borne of an under-resourced education sector, made the target “very optimistic”.
“I don’t think Cambodia will reach upper-middle income status by 2030, especially given the intense competition of a lot of the countries in the region that are also looking for the kind of investment that would drive Cambodia up over the next 10 to 15 years.”
Additional reporting by Shaun Turton