• Following more than two decades of strong economic growth, Cambodia has attained lower middle-income status with gross national income (GNI) per capita reaching US$1,230 in 2017. Driven by garment exports and tourism, Cambodia has sustained an average growth rate of 7.7% between 1995-2017, the sixth fastest-growing economy in the world. As global demand peaks in 2018, economic growth is expected to reach 7%, compared to 6.9% in 2017. Growth is expected to remain robust over the medium term.

    Poverty continues to fall in Cambodia, albeit more slowly than in the past. According to official estimates, the poverty rate in 2014 was 13.5% compared to 47.8% in 2007. About 90% of the poor live in the countryside. While Cambodia has achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty in 2009, the vast majority of families who escaped poverty did so by a small margin. Around 4.5 million people remain near-poor, vulnerable to falling back into poverty when exposed to economic and other external shocks.

    Health and education remain both important challenges and development priorities for Cambodia, where 32% (or approximately 500,000) of children under five are stunted. While net enrollment in primary education increased from 82% in 1997 to 97% in 2016, lower secondary completion rates at 57 % in 2017 are significantly below the average for lower middle-income countries. As of 2015, 70% of Cambodia’s population (12.3 million people) do not have access to piped water, and 58% (9.3 million people) do not have access to improved sanitation.

    Cambodia has made good strides in improving maternal health, early childhood development, and primary education in rural areas. The maternal mortality ratio per 100,000 live births decreased from 472 in 2005 to 170 in 2014, the under-five mortality rate decreased from 83 per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 35 per 1,000 in 2014.

    Despite these achievements, Cambodia still faces a number of development challenges, including the need for good quality public services, improved business environment, better land administration and natural resources management, environmental sustainability, and good governance. Going forward, the success of addressing these challenges will rest not only on maintaining macroeconomic stability and increasing economic diversification and export competitiveness, but also on improving the quality of public service delivery through more effective public spending that is more responsive to citizens’ needs.

    Last Updated: Sep 27, 2018

  • The World Bank’s engagement in Cambodia focusses on its mandate to eliminate poverty and boost shared prosperity by investing in human capital, tackling rural poverty, building basic infrastructure, and empowering communities. This engagement has contributed to long-run improvements in the welfare of Cambodians. Across our program, we support citizens’ participation and voice, particularly to enhance government transparency and accountability. Cambodia received its first credit from the World Bank in 1993. Following decades of conflict, the World Bank’s priority areas were to support the reconstruction of social and economic institutions and the development of physical infrastructure. Since 1999, increasing focus has been placed on governance reforms, macroeconomic stability and sustainable economic growth, livelihoods support, and improving and expanding health and education services.

    In 2015, the World Bank Group carried out extensive country consultations with stakeholders on Cambodia’s development opportunities and challenges. These consultations helped inform the World Bank Group Country Engagement Note (CEN), a two-year strategy to support Cambodia in sustaining inclusive and resilient growth to reduce poverty and enhance shared prosperity. The strategy was endorsed by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on May 19, 2016.

    The World Bank Group prepared a Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) to identify challenges and priority development areas towards strong, inclusive and sustainable growth and shared prosperity in Cambodia.

    Drawing from the analysis and broad consultations with civil society, academia and development partners, the SCD identified three pathways for development:

    • Enhancing export competitiveness and economic diversification to sustain strong growth and create jobs
    • Building human assets to facilitate economic mobility and shared prosperity
    • Ensuring a more sustainable growth pattern by investing in natural capital, climate resilience, and sustainable urban development

    The World Bank supports these development pathways through  active investment projects in a variety of sectors, including education, health, roads, improved livelihoods, water resource management, disaster risk management, and community level service delivery.

    The World Bank in Cambodia is also engaged through Advisory Services and Analytics (ASA) on Social Accountability, Urbanization, Economic Diversification, Environmental Sustainability and Resilience and Jobs Diagnostic among other development issues.

    Empowering citizens to demand accountability from government contributes to strengthening economic governance. Working closely with non-government groups the World Bank’s program creates space for citizens’ engagement and voice, particularly, in strengthening government transparency and accountability and improving service delivery.

    Last Updated: Sep 27, 2018

  • The World Bank has supported education projects in Cambodia through Bank-administered programs funded by the Global Partnership for Education as well as other development partners. The programs granted scholarships to students and trained teachers, in addition to building schools and setting up early childhood education programs. By July 2017, 38% of children between 3 and 5 years old have enrolled in urban and rural districts where 100 formal and 500 community-based new preschool facilities were provided, 3,861 community early childhood education teachers and mothers have been trained and more than 125,337 students between 3-5 years old directly benefited from project activities.

    Through the Higher Education Quality and Capacity Improvement project, which was completed in September 2017, about 1,000 students received scholarships and 64 public and private professors/staff were able to complete their studies overseas. A total of 45 research grants were issued to support teaching and learning. To find solutions to local problems, 78 overseas programs and 254 local training programs were conducted for more than 10,000 higher education leaders, managers and teachers to improve the quality of Cambodia's education.

    The increasing share of financing from the Royal Government of Cambodia, combined with co-financing from the World Bank and other development partners, has helped to improve coverage and quality of health care services throughout Cambodia. Bank-supported health projects helped to expand the health facility network, supplied medical equipment, financed technical and institutional capacity improvement and provided better sanitation and water quality.

    The Health Equity Fund (HEF) system now supports free access to over 2 million outpatient visits and approximately 100,000 hospital admissions for the poorest people in Cambodia, nationwide and across all public health facilities in the country. Payments for these services provided to the poor, as well as additional fixed and performance-based grants to health facilities, are deposited electronically and in a timely manner into health facilities’ bank accounts. This has changed the empowerment and accountability paradigm, where resource availability at the most peripheral level of the health system has allowed facility-level decision-making and vital funding for maintenance and repair of equipment and infrastructure and to meet emergency shortages of drugs and consumables.

    Through the Voice and Action Project, the World Bank and other development partners are supporting NGOs to improve the quality of service delivery by Commune Councils, Health Centers, and primary schools. The Implementation Plan for Social Accountability (ISAF) currently covers 75% of Cambodia’s provinces, 62% of districts and 56% of communes. ISAF covers 572 out of 1,191 health centers across the country and 1,422 out of Cambodia’s 7,000 primary schools. It also hires more than 3,650 Community Accountability Facilitators to help mobilize their communities to learn about public services, provide feedback to services providers, and to take action to improve service quality. By the end of 2017, more than 11,280 Joint Accountability Action Plans (JAAPs) were developed jointly between service providers and community members in targeted communes, and 64% of JAAPs’ activities have been implemented to improve public service delivery.

    The World Bank has also supported improved regulations in the water and sanitation sector. Aligning with government’s decentralization reform agenda, a two-year pilot of decentralized rural sanitation service delivery was implemented in ten districts in two provinces. By June 2017, 24,458 households in the pilot districts gained access to improved sanitation, representing a seven-percentage point increase per year. After the pilot, the government increased resources and scaled-up the rural sanitation to additional five districts. The Bank also supported the government in the development of a water supply monitoring system to help improve the government’s regulation capability and to encourage water supply operators to improve their services. Data for over half of the 245 water operators in Cambodia are now available in the system.

    In the transport sector, the World Bank-financed Road Asset Management Project (RAMP) helped rehabilitate some 470 kilometers of Cambodia’s national and provincial road network. As a result, travel time has been reduced from 2 hours to 1.6 hours per 100 kilometers. The project also helped to strengthen capacity in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in road asset management planning, budgeting and routine and periodic road maintenance.

    Through the Public Finance Management Modernization Project and related activities, the World Bank is helping Cambodia to improve its ability to raise revenues and strengthen its public finance management system. Key achievements include improved revenue generation capacity and debt sustainability rating; use of banking system for government transactions; and the installation of a Financial Management Information System (FMIS) to facilitate improved budget management through more timely, automated payment processes, and accurate and transparent financial reporting that can be used and analyzed by government and other interested stakeholders. The system has been rolled out for all 25 Provincial Treasury Departments.

    Through the Land Allocation for Social and Economic Development Project (LASED), the government had allocated 17,000 hectares of residential and farm land to 5,141 poor and landless families. So far, 2,930 families have received land titles. LASED helped ensure better access to services to those most in need, thus improving their livelihoods. Access to land for the poor or landless families has been and continues to be an important aspect of ending extreme poverty. LASED II, which was approved in May 2016, builds on the experiences and lessons learn from LASED and aims to help these families access agriculture extension services, education, and health facilities. 

    Last Updated: Sep 27, 2018



Cambodia: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


More Photos Arrow

In Depth


Early Childhood Education

In Cambodia, over 1,400 preschools run by communities are helping children aged three to five to study.


Cambodia’s Health Journey

Cambodia has made great strides in healthcare with maternal and child mortality vastly reduced.


Dreams Come True for Poor, Landless Farmers

Under a World Bank project, 250 families received land titles. For poor farmers like Khouy Thoeun her dream of owning land has come true.


Raising Reading Scores in Cambodia

Emerging from years of political turmoil, Cambodia has improved language acquisition, especially in the early school grades.

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Phnom Penh
Exchange Square Building, No. 19-20, Street 106, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855 23 261300
Fax: + 855 23 261301-2
1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433 Tel: +1 202-473-4709