Cambodia can open itself to almost limitless possibilities if the riel replaces the US dollar as the main medium of exchange in the nation’s economy.
Economic realities and national sovereignty should take precedence in a fast changing world that requires dynamism and a flexible economy to keep pace with the rest.
And the riel is a critical catalyst to energise the fast-paced economy and gives the national currency its due recognition and a legitimate place in the financial sector.
While the US dollar’s hegemony played a vital role in Cambodia’s history, the riel-US combo have really propped up growth and stability of the once nascent economy and transformed the Kingdom into a respected free-market enterprise in the world.
Cambodia’s economic contours have changed and will continue to change, undoubtedly.
With a steady growth rate of 7.7 per cent between 1995 and 2017, the Kingdom outpaced many regional economies to become the sixth fastest growing economy in the world, according to the World Bank.
The nation’s gross national income per capita swelled to $1,230 in 2017 due to the sizzling growth rate that eventually helped push the country to the lower middle-income status bracket.
Well-calibrated pragmatic policies liberated millions from the shacklesof abject poverty, provided livelihood opportunities and managed to tame the poverty level to a mere 13 per cent.
But, global accolades are difficult to come by for such achievements.
These facts have demolished all myths and skepticism of the nation, often tainted with a reputation for corruption and poor human rights records.
Quietly, Cambodia weaned itself from a painful socio-economic past and is now marching into the 21st century-economy while gearing itself for Industrial Revolution 4.0.
An herculean task, even for some of the best.
At this juncture, it is only judicious to allow the riel, which itself suffered along with the nation’s history, to play its role to help the National Bank of Cambodia that has worked tirelessly to conduct its monetary policies gallantly in the shaping of the nation’s future economic destiny.
But the bounties need to be harvested soon before it dissipates in the global trade quagmire.
Adoption of the riel, as a sole currency, will further fire up the booming tourism sector and create a more genial investment atmosphere.
The riel will lower production costs which in turn will spur manufacturing that will create jobs for the growing young population, make exports cheaper and will help generate more revenue for the exchequer and most crucially, Cambodia can steer its own economic agenda without fear.
The currency conundrum should end. The riel cannot continue to play a second fiddle role in the local economy anymore as any further delay will only sap away at the legitimacy to design sound monetary policies and dim national pride.
Enter the riel. It will certainly be a game changer!